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Gov’t continues to be out of touch

By Andrew Loh On 4 January, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent a legal letter of demand to writer and activist Alex Au to remove an article which was allegedly defamatory of Mr Lee. Mr Au was also required to publish an apology, which he complied with. About 3 weeks later, PM Lee reportedly made the following remarks about the Internet, at the Singapore Perspectives 2013 conference held by the Institute of Policy Studies, on 28 January: “You have views going to extremes and when people respond to their views, they may respond in an extreme way, and when people decide to disapprove of something which was inappropriate, the disapproval can also happen in an extreme way. “It’s in the nature of the medium, the way the interactions work and that’s the reason why we think it cannot be completely left by itself.” These set the tone for what transpired subsequently – with various ministers and the Attorney General taking legal action against certain netizens and bloggers the past few months. The series of clampdown actions has now culminated in the set of new regulations announced by the Media Development Authority (MDA) on Tuesday. Namely, the new rules stipulate that…