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Student forced to shut down blog after libel threat

first_img News October 2, 2020 Find out more RSF’s denounces Singapore’s disregard of press freedom ahead of its Universal Periodic Review Organisation News Follow the news on Singapore SingaporeAsia – Pacific SingaporeAsia – Pacific Singaporean website prosecuted over election coverage to go further Coronavirus: State measures must not allow surveillance of journalists and their sourcescenter_img April 28, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Student forced to shut down blog after libel threat Help by sharing this information October 15, 2020 Find out more April 10, 2020 Find out more News RSF_en News Reporters Without Borders today expressed support for a student from Singapore forced to shut down his blog on 26 April for fear of a libel action by the head of a government body and warned that “such intimidation could make the country’s blogs as timid and obedient as the traditional media.””Threatening a libel suit is an effective way to silence criticism and this case highlights the lack of free expression in Singapore, which is among the 20 lowest-scoring countries in our worldwide press freedom index,” it said. “We especially support bloggers because they often exercise a freedom not seen in the rest of a country’s media.The threat of prosecution came from Philip Yeo, chairman of the government’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), which grants research scholarships, who claimed it was libelled in a blog by Jiahao Chen, a Singapore citizen currently studying in the United States. Writing under the pseudonym of Acid Flask, he criticised several government policies, including the A*STAR scholarship system and Yeo’s justifications of them. He also agreed to his remarks being reproduced in the Electric New Paper. Yeo sent him several e-mails demanding that he delete all blogs mentioning him or A*STAR and threatening legal action if he did not.A few days later, Acid Flask shut down the blog and posted a message of apology to Yeo in its place. Other Singapore blogs that had reproduced the remarks quickly afterwards posted apologies or themselves closed down. Receive email alertslast_img read more