Singapore’s new regulation leads to ‘chilling effect’ in online news media

A recent regulation in Singapore is now sending a “chilling effect” to online news media and citizen blogs.

Citizens are up in arms and a former legal counsel of Yahoo! in Singapore wrote this hard-hitting column that calls this recent regulation a big mistake. Kum Hong Siew wrote:

My sense is that for a long time now, the Singapore government has been looking for a way to give itself the power to censor the internet, in the same way that it has the power to censor offline media.

It may choose to exercise that power sparingly; but the mere possibility of censorship creates a strong chilling effect.

This new regulation is a mistake, and reinforces the perception that Singapore is a repressive place — which is precisely the wrong message to be sending to a globalized and networked world, when you are trying to build an innovative and creative economy where freedom of thought is so essential.

Government attempts to sensor the Internet often fail. In the Philippines, a cybercrime law was passed that included vague provisions meant to regulate the web in the country. It contained questionable rules on online libel and defamation. In the end, the country’s highest court stopped its implementation after citizens raised a howl. The Philippines needs a cybercrime law, but not the kind that our President signed it into law.

Let’s see how this new Singapore regulation will pan out in the next few months.

What do you think?


PH Numbers will tell a story





Want to know the real score about the Philippine economy? Or do you want to know where we are now in terms of literacy rate? Unicef provides this good resource of numbers every Filipino should know — at least if you do care to know. It’s amazing what numbers can tell you. Just take a moment and study these and you will know why we are still where we are now.


Why there’s hope and the ‘Pwede na’ mentality

(This article was first published on Fit To Post of Yahoo! Southeast Asia, where I’m country editor for the Philippines).

I’m writing this opinion piece as a direct reaction to a Huffington Post article on the recent hostage crisis and Venus Raj’s supposed blunder in the concluded Miss Universe pageant. One question was posed, as this article ended: How much are Filipinos demanding of themselves?

Mr. Wagner wrote: “I came to the conclusion that in spite of all the things the Philippines has going for it, its people didn’t demand enough of themselves, or of their government. Political apathy and a willingness to accept a low common denominator of performance have taken their toll on the psyche of the Philippine people.”

I’m teaching now at the University of the Philippines. Apart from imparting lesson on how to write for a popular audience, I’m sharing values and life’s lessons. Every writing exercise also aims to build confidence. From these exercises, I’m hoping to drill the point that they should strive for excellence.

Read more.

‘Awarding of ARMM poll automation contracts seen Friday’

It seems automation of elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao will push through after all. The poll commissioners said they are bent on pushing the project despite legal and technical snags.

Read the story at


MAKATI CITY, Philippines — Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Jose Melo said the poll body expects to award this week contracts to suppliers bidding for the automation of elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Melo said the Commission en banc expects the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to finish with the demonstration by several technology suppliers late Tuesday.

CICT chief resigns

A sad news.

CICT chief resigns

June 01, 2007
Updated 12:40:16 (Mla time)
Erwin Oliva

MANILA, Philippines — Ramon Sales, chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), has filed an indefinite leave of absence en route to his resignation, an official confirmed with Friday.

“He has filed an indefinite leave of absence yesterday but since the President is not in the country, we still don’t know if she would accept it,” Tim Diaz de Rivera, CICT commissioner, said in a telephone