A be covering the advantages and disadvantages of

A
study done recently has showed that 25.3% of people in the world has
encountered some form of internet censorship. Not only that, 80% of the world
does not have access to an internet that is 100% uncensored (“33 Amazing
Internet”, 2017). Not surprisingly, Singapore is one of the many countries that
is practicing some form of censorship. This practice has led to some
controversies like in the case of Amos Yee, who was arrested after he publicly
insulted the late Lee Kuan Yew and Jesus in a Youtube video. Another case would
be the cancellation of the airing of two movies, (Naked Ladies and Undressing
Rooms) which were described as ‘pornography being disguised as arts’ (“Censorship
in Singapore” 2017). The purpose of this report would be to discuss whether
censorship is still necessary in our evolving society. This report will be
covering the advantages and disadvantages of censorship. Not only that, it will
also be highlighting the censorship measures and strategies in foreign
countries. Lastly, it analyses the reasons behind the need for censorship in a
multi-cultural country like Singapore.

 

1.    
Advantages of Censorship

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Censorship can be advantageous as
it helps to prevent conflict and maintain the security of the country. The first advantage of censorship is that it helps to
prevent conflicts. By censoring things that may anger a group of people, the
amount of conflict faced in a country would be reduced significantly. This can
be seen from the Maria Hertogh riots in 1950. During that time, tension was
high between the Malays and the Eurasian European community. This was further worsened
by the fact that newspapers such as Utusan Melayu were publishing fake
articles. The articles talked about the court of Singapore not respecting the
religious customs of the Malays. This led to the Malays being educated with
false information. Influenced by the fake articles, it angered the Malays and
motivated them to riot. That was one of the contributing factors leading up to
the riot.  An investigation followed up
after the riot and revealed that some political figures in United Malays
National Organization (UMNO) were involved in the escalating the riot. These
political figures were trying to stir up conflict so that they would garner the
support of the Malays in Singapore. Another advantage would be that it acts as
security measure for a country. Sensitive military and government information
can be hidden from the public. This is to ensure that potential terrorist and
people that wish to do harm will not have access to the information that might
be used to plot an attack. Not only that, sensitive propaganda video like
terrorist recruitment videos are also banned by the government to ensure that
its citizens are not influenced and radicalized by it. There are a few examples
where this has happened in our own country. One example would be in the case of
Muhammad Khairul Mohamed an AETOS officer who was radicalized after he went
online to research about the conflict in Syria. Therefore, it is important that
the government censor information that are a threat to society.

2.    
Disadvantages of Censorship

Implementing
censorship can also hinder the rights of people and promote negative agendas
within the government. The
first disadvantage is that it violates the rights of the people. By censoring
information from the public, it prevents the people of a country access to
certain information. Countries like China heavily blocks and censors what its citizens
are allowed to see online. For example, websites such as Facebook, Youtube,
Amazon and Google are being blocked by the Chinese authorities. The main reason
behind this is that it does not want its citizens to be influenced by western
ideology. This is mainly because China is an emerging superpower and that it
might view certain western countries as a threat to itself. Its citizens are
usually unaware of what is happening outside their country as news and social
websites are usually modified or blocked. Therefore, by sugarcoating or
screening information to the public, it makes people become ignorant and it
would hinder them from preparing for global issues. The second disadvantage
would be that it promotes negative agendas within the government. If a
government can implement censorship on its citizens, it can also implement
censorship to benefit itself. They can do this by publishing information that
only support their political goals. One example would be what is happening in
North Korea. Under Kim Jung-un’s regime, everything in his country is censored
heavily. Only news related to the political party are accepted. For example, in
the years between 2004 and 2008, North Korea banned the use of cell phones in
the country. This was due to the fact that the regime wanted to prevent the
cell phones for being used to call internationally and prevent access to the
internet. However, recently, North Korea has lifted the ban on cell phones but
has continued to restrict international calls and internet access. Instead,
those who are lucky enough to own mobile devices are sometimes greeted by
propaganda while using their phones. Therefore, people in his country are
forced into his propaganda. This means that the people there would not have any
freedom in decisions regarding the country. This has led the people of North
Korea to live in poor living conditions as they are not able to express their
views and ideas to the government.   

3.    
Censorship in Singapore

Singapore
practices some form of censorship. The main reason censorship is implemented in
Singapore is to protect the political, racial and religious diversity to avoid
upsetting its multi-cultural society. Not only that, it also ensures the
security of the country. Some of the censorship which are implemented in
Singapore are as of the following: films, music, video games, performing arts,
television and internet. Singapore is very harsh on those who try to break the
walls of censorship. For example, In 2015, blogger and youtuber, Amos Yee was
arrested after he made a video defaming the late Lee Kuan Yew and Christianity.
A total of 32 police reports were made against him. He had broken the
censorship barrier in Singapore and caused groups of people to be very displeased
with him. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quick to criticize his actions by
commenting “In our society, which is multiracial and multi-religious,
giving offence to another religious or ethnic group, race, language or
religion, is always a very serious matter. In this case, he’s a 16-year-old, so
you have to deal with it appropriately because he’s (of a) young age” (‘We
Welcome Criticism’, 2015). Another
example would be the censoring of 2 films at the M1 fringe festival in 2016.
Naked Ladies and Undressing Rooms were banned from being aired by the Media
Development Authority as it was seen to be “Pornography disguised as art” (‘Censorship
in Singapore’, 2017).

Conclusion  

In
conclusion, this paper has provided an overview of censorship in Singapore.
Specifically, it has examined why censorship is needed in a multi-cultural
society like Singapore. Not only that, it has also covered the advantages and
disadvantages of censorship. Through
careful consideration of the factors, it is apparent that adopting censorship
in Singapore is a logical step to take. Censorship will always be an ongoing
issue as censor boards will always place new restrictions and lift previous
bans. As an
evolving society, we are constantly trying to decide what is socially
acceptable content. Our government should always encourage rational
conversations to be practiced so as to ensure both sides of a topic are
discussed. Thus, this recommendation should be taken into consideration in
order for Singaporeans to have a platform to express their thoughts without
breaching the rules of censorship in Singapore.