Racist blogs in Singapore

A couple of racist blogs have been taken down by the authorities. The two blogs featured racist comments with vulgarities and negative remarks about Muslims in Singapore. They were apparently started by the same person, presumably a male student in Singapore.  One blog was created in August and the other earlier this month.

The two blogs were hosted on Google’s Blogger site, and were taken down for violating the host’s “terms of service”. 

This reminds me of the case of two racist bloggers who were caught about a year or two back. The case kind of became a landmark one as it highlighted one of the abuses of New Media at a time when blogging was starting to catch on in Singapore.  

While it’s true that New Media such as blogs can be abused and used to express negative and divisive sentiments, what struck me about the situation this time is how the blogosphere and cyberspace seems to have developed an in-built self-regulating mechanism. What do I mean by that?

The one who ‘blew the whistle’ in this case is trainee teacher Tanveer Khan who came across the blogs on Sept 9. Tanveer knew that what he read was wrong and would have a negative effect on its readers and the race relations in Singapore, and immediately emailed the Media Development Authority (MDA) to inform them of the existence of the blogs.

His actions resulted in the blogs being blocked on Sept 18 and 20. The authorities do not police the blogosphere but do take action when they receive any specific information that needs investigating. In addition, the blog hosts such as Blogger also take action against users and prohibit certain undesirable content from being hosted on its servers. More details on specific content that violates Blogger’s policies can be found at www.blogger.com/content.g.

Anyway, with watchful Web users like Mr Tanveer, coupled with the proposed changes to the Penal Code stating that a person convicted of causing racial and religious disharmony can be jailed up to three years or fined, or both, it looks like bloggers who wish to spout undersirable sentiments should exercise more restraint.

 

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