Asia Pacific Media Educator


Singapore’s status as one of the most networked society in the Asia- Pacific region is rarely disputed, though not much has been written critically about the city-state’s approach towards the regulation of information/communication technologies. This paper seeks therefore to disambiguate the social, cultural, economic as well as the political imperatives of such regulatory practices in Singapore. It begins by looking at the development of Singapore’s Internet and infocommunications scene, with highlights of political responses to key occurrences over the past decade. Taking on board the discourse of autoregulation – that regulating the Internet and new media in Singapore is mostly about ensuring an automatic functioning of power for political expedience and longevity – this paper offers new insights into the politics of new communication technologies in Singapore, from its humble beginnings of censorship, surveillance and ‘sleaze’ control (1990s) to recent attempts at restricting information via new legislations governing foreign media and the stifling of online political campaigning and debates (from 2001/02). This paper concludes by looking at aspects of electronic government (e-Government), suggesting how the offering of e-Citizen services are likely to tighten Internet control in the future. It argues that although electronic spaces for political engagement are and will be limited, one needs to make full use of them whilst they are still available.