Internet Control and Auto-regulation in Singapore

Terence Lee

Abstract


This paper sets out to consider the use of new media technologies in the city-state of Singapore, widely acknowledged as one of the most technologically-advanced and networked societies in the world. Singapore is well-known as a politically censorious and highly-regulated society, which has been subjected to frequent and fierce insults and criticisms by those hailing from liberal democratic traditions. Indeed, much has been said about how the Singapore polity resonates with a climate of fear, which gives rise to the prevalent practice of self-censorship. This paper examines how certain groups in Singapore attempt to employ the Internet to find their voice and seek their desired social, cultural and political ends, and how the regulatory devices adopted by the highly pervasive People Action's Party (PAP) government respond to and set limits to these online ventures whilst concomitantly pursuing national technological cum economic development strategies. It concludes that the Internet in Singapore is a highly contested space where the art of governmentality, in the forms of information controls and 'automatic' modes of regulation, is tried, tested, and subsequently perfected.

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