The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the Singapore parliament's passage of legislation that will be used to stifle reporting and the dissemination of news, and called for the punitive measure's immediate repeal.
The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act , which was passed yesterday, gives all government ministers broad and arbitrary powers to demand corrections, remove content, and block webpages if they are deemed to be
disseminating falsehoods against the public interest or to undermine public confidence in the government, both on public websites and within chat programs such as WhatsApp, according to news reports .
Violations of the law will be punishable with maximum 10-year jail terms and fines of up to $1 million Singapore dollars (US$735,000), according to those reports. The law was passed after a two-day debate and is expected to come into force in the
next few week.
Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asian representative said:
This law will give Singapore's ministers yet another tool to suppress and censor news that does not fit with the People's Action Party-dominated government's authoritarian narrative. Singapore's online media is already over-regulated and
severely censored. The law should be dropped for the sake of press freedom.
Law Minister K. Shanmugam said censorship orders would be made mainly against technology companies that hosted the objectionable content, and that they would be able to challenge the government's take-down requests,.
CTech giant Tencent has dropped the hugely popular mobile version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) in China after it was more or less banned by the government's game censors. It was not quite banned, just not allowed to earn any money.
But not to worry, Tencent has a similar title, Heping Jingying or Elite Force for Peace, with a few tweaks to smooth things with the censors. Charcaters do note beeleed, the minimum age for players has been raised to 16, and most
importantly, it features heroic Chinese forces kicking ass.
Geopolitics might also have contributed to PUBG Mobile's rejection. Tencent licenses the game from South Korean company Bluehole, and Chinese authorities can be hostile to South Korean goods.
For Chinese gamers, though, the disruption should be minimal. Tencent is allowing users to port over characters from PUBG Mobile to Heping Jingying, and one analyst told Reuters that the new game was incredibly similar to the older title.
Memories of My Body is a 2018 Indonesia drama by Garin Nugroho.
Starring Muhammad Khan, Raditya Evandra and Rianto.
In Center Java Juno, a pre-teen abandoned by his father, joins a Lengger dance centre where men assume feminine appearances but the political and social upheaval in Indonesia forces him on the road, meeting remarkable people on his journey.
Muslim groups in Indonesia are calling for a ban on the film Memories of My Body, a drama from the country's best-known art house director, Garin Nugroho. The groups claim that the film is sexually deviant and promotes LGBT values.
The film depicts the story of a young man from a dance troupe that performs Lengger Lanang, a folk dance from central Java that is usually performed in pairs, and in which men often take both male and female roles.
Memories of My Body premiered in the Venice Film Festival's Horizon section, where it won the prize for best film. The success was repeated at several other festivals.
The film encountered problems in Indonesia following its release on April 18. After being given a 17+ rating by the censorship board (LSF), the film was given a 40-screen release.
In less than a week, the film was banned by local officials in regions including Depok and Palembang. Others called on the powerful assembly of Muslim elders known as the Indonesian Ulema Council to move against the film. Arovah Windiani, a
spokeswoman for the council said that, from a moral perspective, the film should not be out there.
A backlash against the film was further fanned on social media. An online petition calling for Memories of My Body to be banned gained 160,000 signatures.
On Monday, the Muslim elders' council demanded that the censorship board change the film's certification to 21+, and recommended that Nugroho re-edit the film to make its meaning less ambiguous.
Nugroho has refused to revise the film and told Variety that he opposes mob justice.
With screenings banned in five provinces, the film is now playing on just three screens across the country.
In related news a religious mob has attacked dancers at an Indonesian event.
Members of a Malay youth paramilitary organisation, justified the attack by claiming the dance was vulgar. They also said that the wearing of tight shirts by male dancers from Tanjungpura University who were dancing femininely was not compatible
with Indonesian culture.
A university lecturer and three students fell victim to the mob as they were celebrating World Dance Day in the Indonesian city of Pontianak last week.
New Zealand's major media organisations have pledged not to mention white supremacist ideology when covering the trial of the man charged with killing 50 people at two mosques. The five organisations that signed the agreement said they were aware
that accused gunman Brenton Tarrant might try to use the trial as a platform to promote white supremacist or terrorist views.
The organisations said the commitment extended excluding coverage of Tarrant's manifesto and any symbolic images. That clause came after Tarrant made a hand gesture at his first court appearance, which is sometimes associated with white
New Zealand police have charged a young man for sharing a meme based on Brenton Tarrant's live streamed murderous attack on a Christchurch mosque.
The New Zealand authorities had previously banned the video with the official film censor declaring it as 'objectionable'. And apparently this makes even the use of still images as totally illegal.
ABC News is reporting that at least six people have been charged with illegally sharing the video contents with other people, but presumably this is referring to the whole video being passed on.
And again according to ABC the meme sharing young man has been held in jail since being arrested for his joke. He will reappear in court on July 31 when electronically monitored bail will be considered.
Meanwhile New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, will be meeting with executives from big tech, along with world leaders, in order to prohibit the spread or sharing of violent extremism or terrorism from being shown online at all. This
official policy calling for censorship has been tagged The Christchurch Call but details haven't been made public, yet.
Ironically this all seems to playing into the hands of the Christchurch shooter, Brenton Tarrant. In his manifesto he specifically wanted governments and regulators to escalate censorship to the point of creating civil unrest.
There has been a bit of a bottleneck for gaming in China as the responsibility for games censorship moved from a government organisati to a Communist Party propaganda unit.
As the new organisations starts to work out its new remit it is hardly surprising that new censorship rules would appear. And now the new game censor has announced three new game themes that are now banned:
gambling games such as Mahjong and Poker
games that deal with the country's imperial history
games featuring corpses and blood--of any color.
Other initiatives include requesting publishers to change how their titles promote Chinese values and culture so that if they become popular around the world, they'll portray the country in a favorable light.
The new regulations also require developers and publishers to divulge more information about a given title including detailed scripts, screenshots, as well as what features are being included to help curb gameplay addiction and over-spending by
the country's younger population.