As the world progressed, so has Singapore. Singapore in 2010 has 2 Casinos, an F1 night race, and lots and lots of "legal" and "illegal" prostitutes. R(A) movies, once restricted in Singapore is making a comeback.
But why is most of the world still calling Singapore an authoritarian nation? Though the censorship rules have be relaxed, there are more and more "self-censorship" as Singapore resonates with a climate of fear. When it comes to politics, every little thing is "sensitive" and in the courts of Singapore, laws can be backdated, and actions and comments against the ruling party will be suppressed till there is no end.
There is a HUGE push for the arts, Entrepreneurship and creativity, yet media and news is often suppressed. Democracy is often misrepresented, misunderstood or treated as a dirty word. And with this controlled media, many Singaporeans subscribe to the "pastel colored" Singapore, with low crime and constantly bustling business in all industries.
People who have lost jobs, and could not find one in 48 months are labeled as picky as there are millions of news jobs created daily, and most employees have "too many choices". Any actions challenging the transparency of the information collected or when people voiced out specific cases where the results of surveys are contradictory to personal experience are also extinguished, and some even labeled "Astroturfing".
It is no surprise that foreigners who have brought Billions to Singapore to invest still cannot have a platform to voice their opinions. There are a lot of things in Singapore that are "out of bounds", questioning authorities is definitely a
Singaporean are highly educated and sometimes vocal, but because of "self-censorship", many good ideas are never vocalized. In the recent years, or even way back in Singapore's short history, many people have been sued in courts for defamation. Even large press and magazines fall to the non-transparent system and have understood the system and play ball.
FEER is an example and The New York Times have been sued by the leaders of Singapore. Many things have advanced in Singapore, however, the Media still remains backdated.
Communism, once much feared in Democratic countries is still a big concern in Singapore, however they have much cooperation, and trading ties with China. "Self-censorship" is often practiced from fear of getting imprisoned by ISA or getting sued, as the laws in Singapore can bend, and rules changed and backdated to make such a lawsuit possible. Furthermore, there is often a lack of transparency, and lack of responsibility when it comes to a crisis, as the highly paid public servants -- acting like lords -- never tries to take responsibly for anything.
Regarding human rights, ... (self-censored)
Singapore is trying to change their rules on censorship, or that is what they want people to think. Political movies are now an "ok" in Singapore, however “Dr Lim Hock Siew” will be banned by Censors from July 14 under the Films Act, for being “against the public interest“.
Even the trailers on Youtube are banned. See -- Singapore forces removal of dissident YouTube video
So there is still much censorship and "self-censorship" in Singapore.
Hopefully, things will change in the near future.
-- Iron Bowl