Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sedition and Free Speech in the Singaporean Legal Regime

Jaculyn L. C. Neo, National University of Singapore, has published Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech, Integration and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups. Here is the abstract.

In 2005, the archaic laws of sedition were summoned to counteract speech considered offensive to racial and religious groups in Singapore. Under the Sedition Act, it is seditious to, inter alia, promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population. In a later case involving religious proselytisation, a Christian couple was charged and convicted of sedition under the same section. This article examines this new phenomenon. It investigates the manner in which these laws have been employed and jurisprudentially developed to restrain speech on race and/or religion in Singapore. The article argues that the current state of the law is highly problematic for its adverse impact on free speech as well as for its conceptual confusions with alternative bases for restraining speech. It contends that failure to extricate the existing conceptual confusions is adverse to free speech and community integration in the long run. A three-fold legal framework is proposed to provide clearer guidance on inter-racial, inter-religious interaction within the Singaporean society.

The full text is not available from SSRN.

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