a community of singaporeans

Bloggers send 20-page proposal to minister

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 21, 2008

A group of bloggers, led by Choo Zheng Xi and Alex Au, sent a 20-page proposal to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang, today (April 21, 2008). The paper , titled “Proposals for Internet freedom in Singapore”, expresses the bloggers’ concerns about Internet regulation in Singapore and offers proposals for the government to consider in its current review of such regulations.

The full paper is in pdf file. (See below).

21 April 2008

Dr Lee Boon Yang

Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts


Proposals for Internet freedom in Singapore

The government has repeatedly acknowledged that Internet technology is constantly evolving and that regulation of the Internet must keep up with the times. Moreover, as a nation, there are vast benefits we can reap from our ability to use the technology effectively and creatively, and regulation should not be a dead hand foreclosing these opportunities. Heretofore, the government has promised and exercised a light touch, but it would be better if policy is based not merely on forbearance, but framed by more clearly articulated principles, in the interest of greater transparency and coherence.

As a group of active participants in Internet expression with a concern for media regulation, we submit for your kind consideration the enclosed proposals. They include both a general review of process rules, as well as content regulation, with special regard to (a) political expression, (b) hate speech and (c) sex and violence.

Each section bears its own list of signatories, and may list one or more among us who have dissented or abstained from the recommendation arrived at for that section.

We will be making this document public the day after we have submitted it to you, as we believe that the regulation of the Internet is a matter of public interest.

We are aware that these are issues of some legal complexity and do not pretend to have arrived at perfect solutions. However, we strongly believe that some of the key principles we’re advocating are important ones and hope that the government will take them on board in its ongoing review of regulations

Yours sincerely,

Choo Zheng Xi (

Alex Au Waipang (

Gerald Giam (

Roderick Chia (

Bernard Leong (

Ng E-Jay (

Mohan Gopalan (

Scott Teng Kie Zin (

Cherian George (

See Tong Ming (

Benjamin Cheah (

Ho Choon Hiong (

Justin Zhuang


For the full set of proposals in pdf file, click here.



42 Responses to “Bloggers send 20-page proposal to minister”

  1. Dr.Huang said

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks and Well done!
    You have my fullest support!

  2. Concerned Online Citizen said


    “We will be making this document public the day AFTER we have submitted it to you, as we believe that the regulation of the Internet is a matter of public interest.”

    Please kindly share with us all; what is the point of making it public AFTER it has been submitted? Tell me, shouldn’t be the other way round?

    Secondly, are you ALL speaking in your personal capacity as bloggers or are you claiming to represent the entire blogging community in the Singapore Blogosphere? The reason why I asked this question is Gerald Ghiam has been noted on record to have written, this is only limited to the 15 bloggers and in no way those this represent the entire blogging community – yet from my reading here, it appears to suggest a wider ambit and purview.

    At least that is my understanding of the case when I read some of the comments posted in Aaron Ng’s blog

    Thank You for allowing me to post

    Concerned Online Citizen

  3. […] that a high profile group of political bloggers has just submitted a 20 page “Proposal for Internet freedom in Singapore” (pdf) to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang, perhaps […]

  4. Agagooga said

    Why is Justin Zhuang a blogger without a blog?

  5. […] that a high profile group of political bloggers has just submitted a 20 page “Proposal for Internet freedom in Singapore” (pdf) to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang, perhaps our […]

  6. […] From TheOnlineCitizen […]

  7. guojun said

    Well then, is it even practical to consider ALL bloggers? There was a call for papers and if you missed it, then what you can do is critique this paper. I doubt there is anything else you can do.

    While it may not be representative, perhaps the paper is worth a read and criticism as well.

  8. guojun said

    And as to the blogger without a blog…yes, what’s the story behind that?

  9. Mark said

    What a joke!!

    13 bloggers submitted a paper and the Press made such a fuss out of it!!

    And of these, 4 of bloggers didn’t agree or abstained.

    And recommendations are like, allowing sale of obscene books / objects to under-21.

  10. Mark said

    And the only high profile guys are Alex Au of Yawning Bread and the Chief Editor of Citizenonline. What high-profile?? Pls do not misrepresent us bloggers

  11. Elfred said

    Reading thru…

    TOC seems to omit the one most critical concerns of internet regulation the PM may be interested: Online funding or donation.

    The impact of internet of the society is in real should be ‘lawless’ from any single state registered with UN. Why?

    Can Singapore set its own laws on UN or Singapore UN representation in UN sessions and try to impose that on USA, China, Japan and other state members? Cannot. This is the interaction of laws where it should be forbidden in the first place. Internet is precisely like a huge UN where a member represent a state, this ‘UN’ is represented or involved by everyone who is online.

    Hence no one state can impose its own laws in such global communication without disturbing Justice.

    Actually, UN should have a UN Interest legislatory body, and then a global set of laws specifically for internet can be possible. But that is impossible as well! Why?

    Because from the days of simple internet letters exchange, to the IRC era, to email, to blogging and forums… what will internet become tomorrow is beyond the laws!

    What if USA succeeded in plugging monkey’s brain waves into online communication? See?

    The gahmen must not follow Malaysia… Because we are supposed to be having more brains than others in laws. Hahahahahahaha…

  12. TOC Reader said

    That something transends more than one border, doesn’t mean it cannot be subject to law. Otherwise, people who fly everywhere wouldn’t be taxed in different countries, and there wouldn’t be any common rules governing airplane flights.

    It seems to me that some people in the group are trying v hard to fight for obscene materials for under-21.

    Statistically, 13 bloggers, without publication before submission, cannot represent the community of bloggers

    I can’t imagine the govt taking this seriously.

  13. […] aggregated from theonlinecitizen: A group of bloggers, led by Choo Zheng Xi and Alex Au, sent a 20-page proposal to the Minister for […]

  14. tiredman said

    Like I always believe, I will choose my material wisely. Hopefully this is not a planned step to tighten media control. God bless…

  15. You go guys! said

    All you guys posting negative comments think about this: what have you done to change the system you like to criticize so bitterly? Are you jealous that there are people out there who care enough about reform that they will fight to bring it about? Are you so bitter and jealous that you’ll tear them down?

    Get off your petty high horses.

  16. Support said

    Hey Mark,

    These dudes NEVER claimed to represent you, so cut your bitching. I think it’s pretty clear from the paper’s drafting that you are free to agree or disagree with the process, critique it or support it as you fancy. That’s what democracy’s about: being able to agree on a common cause, and retaining your right to abstain or dissent on specific points.

    For the idiot who’s trying to misrepresent this paper as being limited to pornographic deregulation, stop the misrepresentation and read the paper: it’s about so much more.

  17. patriot said

    Pardon me if I sound naggy.

    Do not bargain if the Good(s) is not seen and inspected and price is not known!

  18. ShadowMan said

    Democracy is being free to critique to paper as well.

    I think the comments made so far by most of the commentators are fair, including the issue that the feedback is not representative of the bloggers community.

    The issue is that it is being picked up as such, by the press and other media groups.

  19. RiceVeryEx said

    after inspecting the goods and price, I personally don’t find it very good leh.

  20. An excellent effort in the organising of prominent bloggers into a political force. Currently, I think this paper is slightly narrow in scope than what most people are expecting, but well, it’s a good start and certainly lays the groundwork for future efforts.

    And in response to previous comments about Justin Zhuang, my memory informs me that Justin Zhuang is a contributor at However, I’m not certain why he is not included in that site, perhaps to avoid some sort of confusion with Cherian George.

    In any case, here are some rather trivial observations on formatting (sorry, I’m just that pedantic). Just for fun lah!

    1) The paper shows all signs of bloggerhood. San-serif font (Arial), line break style of paragraphing (instead of indentation), single-line spacing instead of double, lack of numbering of paragraphs (as with all official documents)…

    2) The title of the PDF document suggests the document is created from Microsoft Word. And judging from the phrasing of the title, I believe it’s converted using CutePDF.

  21. Shadowman name? said

    Hi Shadowman,

    Democracy means being brave enough to stand up to be counted: one man one vote. These bloggers have stood up with their real names to make this submission, unlike you (and me!) who are hiding behind pseudonyms.

    I have read the press statements and NOWHERE does it say they are representative of us! Please point to a single instance where they make that claim! YOU CAN’T!

    Anyway, how can you be representative of people who don’t even use their real names right?

    And RiceVeryEx, asserting it’s not very good just shows you haven’t even read the paper. Back up your claim by telling us why.

    Even if there are things we don’t agree with, the fact is these dudes put in their time and effort to DO SOMETHING. Unlike you =)

    Seriously, the person who lacks any credibility is you =)

  22. Good stuff said

    Hi thank you for taking the time to do this paper, we need more citizens to get involved in the reform process hands on like you guys thanks so much

  23. Concerned Online Citizen said

    Gear G15

    How can 13 or 15 bloggers possibly represent the entire blogosphere?

    Please next time, if you wish to change the world, just drop us anon bloggers a line and keep us all in the loop. We are not asking alot here, just for the right to be able to play a meaningful role in our political destiny.

    Personally, I dont think this is too much to ask considering how its often regarded as a principle by which so many ppl swear by.

    Keep us informed and if possible even let us participate in the process even if we happen to be anon. We dont need to justify our right of being to you, being anon is our elemental right in the unwritten constitution of the world wide web.

    However, this does not give you the right to impose your one level of intelligence standard on us all just bc all of you blog openly. We have a right to be different and to even take pride in it.

    I am very happy this proposal will go nowhere.

  24. Stop your bitching said

    Eh Concerned Online Citizen, there was a PUBLIC CALL for all bloggers to join the paper, was your head too far up your ass to notice??

    How in the world are they supposed to DROP YOU A LINE if you’re freaking ANONYMOUS? There was a PUBLIC CALL!! Stop stirring shit damn obvious you’re trying to discredit something that you never had the inclination to join in the first place. What’s your agenda huh?

    And who’s saying you don’t have a right to be anonymous? Of course you do! I’m anonymous and I COMPLETELY SUPPORT THE PAPER because I’m not trying to deliberately twist it out of context like you.

  25. Democracy in action said

    G13, what you guys are doing is democracy in action: getting directly involved in the process of reform.

    Thank you for moving out of the internet and into the political thicket. What you’re doing is even more important than Parliamentarians talking in Parliament: you guys are active citizenry in action.

    Lesson for us all: you don’t like the law, do something to get it changed.

  26. Why so bitter said

    Hey Concerned Online Citizen,

    Why so bitter? These guys put out an open call for everyone to get on board. They’re a good mix of people, and even then they’re not actually claiming to represent us. They’ve got amazing people like Martyn See and activists like Ng Ejay, academics like Cherian, and even a couple of students involved.

    More important than the good mix though is that these guys have never claimed to represent you.

    Ironically, if their proposals go through, you’ll be the one benefitting.

    Even if they’re not accepted, they would have made people realize that ordinary bloggers can band together and stand up for what they believe in, not matter how small the group. Democracy should work that way!

  27. Dr Gary Lim said

    “Amazing people like Martyn See and activists like Ng Ejay, academics like Cherian…” Yes, that is why it remains so disturbing when not a single one of them even registered what “Concerned Online Citizen” has highlighted. And when she brings up this matter here in TOC; what happens to her? All of you give her the third degree lynch mob treatment. You call her a bitch, you denigrate her right to speak up and you make fun of her claim to anon status etc.

    A few days ago, I used to support this initiative as I believe it is always good when my fellow country man stand up and speak their minds, but after reading how the mildest comments can provoke a flood of mindless support which are not designed to explore beyond what was mentioned, its very clear to me all of the so called “Amazing People,” and their efforts will amount to very little.

    I am very sorry, you do not have my support!

  28. Balderdash said

    it presupposes that singapore believes in the democratic process…

    Race and religion is one of the trump cards justifying the Mandate of Heaven, both giving carte blanche for administrative fiat and allowing the regular stoking of moral panic; to get rid of it would be unthinkable…

  29. TOC Reader said

    To StopYourBitching and WhySoBitter

    I think the bloggers here are just stating their fair concerns.

    No point calling names and making assumptions about others’ motives. If you want, do state specific comments. It’s part of what we what to achieve through a more open community in the Internet sphere right?

    If we don’t moderate ourselves, it will be difficult to push for a case for a open platform.

  30. In support said

    Hi all,

    I disagree with a few points in the paper, but I’m completely in support of the spirit of the paper. I’m excited by the possibility of what a small group of people can do if they put their hearts, minds and efforts together to accomplish.

    Thanks guys you’re an inspiration.

  31. Does Not Support said

    I do not agree with quite a number of points in the paper, like full removal of Internet legislation.

    But since the paper does not represent my view, but only the 12 bloggers + 1 dun know whether blogger, I am fine with it. But if it grows to become a defacto voice… that’s another story..

    There are already comments going in other blogs that TOC is PAP sponsored..

  32. Sze Chong said

    to Commentor #21:

    you are also slapping yourself in the face 😛 You are just saying someone is not good because the person didn’t elaborate. You didn’t give any elaboration on the article either…hehehe

  33. Elfred said

    Dear TOC reader,

    People who fly everywhere isn’t communicating real time. Their actions are easily computed, but when you have a Brazilian putting his piece of culture online and you putting your online, who is right to say he in Spain is right and you in a Singaporean in Geneva is wrong?

    This is not how laws operate under the UN charter. You can’t have Singaporean telling UN that it can govern its own seat, pee on the seats, swear on seats against the communist members and just leave anytime. It’s not the same as if you can fly into your terroritory. Cyberspace is NOT only you. See?

    It’s a real United Nation issue, because law-respecting respecting Singapore has to make the charters a basis for its international legal justification. And there is not only a sovereignty issue, it also includes discrimination of all sorts…

    It’s not only without legal basis, it’s also very unfair.

  34. Merdeka said

    Commentor # 31,

    I think you need to think twice about calling this paper PAP sponsored, it seems you’re just rehashing old allegations about PAP links to try to discredit all 13 good bloggers.

    Try to distinguish the personality from the substance. Looking at this paper, got substance. Looking at your comment, really no substance.

    I think someone has pointed out that Justin Zhuang blogs on Cherian’s btw.

  35. Singa said


    I think you have to expand on why the paper has substance, instead of just saying that as well. 🙂

    As for bloggers’ associations of TOC with PAP, it’s not something that will go away immediately.

  36. Observer said


    I have an interesting observation on most of the comments:

    when someone disagree with the paper, they are just called names or brushed aside

    when someone agrees with the paper, they don’t have to justify why, but they get away with it.

    Conclusion.. haha.. make your own..

  37. Democratic progress said

    Hi isn’t it clear from the comments in support that they’re supportive of the participation of bloggers and citizens in the law reform process?

    Erm, and observer, your comments are completely unsupported too…hence we can conclude? haha.

    I think the reasons given in support about engagement in the democratic process are relevant and substantial.

    I would add my support in particular to the call for repeal of Films Act S 33, 35 and PEA s 78 (1). These laws are particularly broadly framed and unhelpful to bloggers.

    If you’d like to debate me on my support of the substance of these reforms, and argue that these should be kept on the statute books, I’d be happy to engage you here.

  38. Dingo said

    There was a bloggers meeting called for before this initiative started. if anon bloggers didnt attend it (perhaps cause they didnt know of it) AND if they feel this document does not best represent them – then perhaps they should come up with another (their own).

    I don’t say that with jest. The more the merrier.

  39. Dingo said

    But anon bloggers dont feel bad if another group comes up and says you dont represent them either!

  40. Daniel said

    You see people always get ‘pacify’ by LHL.

    “He acknowledged that the Minister is ultimately accountable for the policies and operations of his ministry, but said a rational approach to establish who is responsible for lapses has to be taken.”

    Notice that whatever speech he make always end up in BUT, and it is the BUT that he will proceed with. So when JOker Lee says that
    “We will examine whether we should relax part of the rules but this issue will be handled cautiously to prevent a negative impact.'”

    Therefore, expect nothing less than stringent measurement and even registration of blog that highlight Singapore circus government in negative light.

  41. patriot said

    When someone wants to build a fence/wall to protect him/herself, it is his/her right and if some others feel like helping out in the erection, by all means.

    If however, somebody wants to build a fence to fence You in, then I see no reason why You should help to give ideas and or even supply materials to help to build the fence.

    Yours humbly: patriot.

  42. Harphoon said

    The G-15 proposal is finished! Here is the spirit blow. Darkness has gone for the one thrust classical kill.

    It’s over.

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