Congratulations! Singapore has improved in press freedom by jumping from the 154th to 151st ranking worldwide. This is based on the 2017 World Press Freedom Index collated by Reporters Without Borders.

Singapore is ranked 151 because of our intolerant government and strict censorship. The report described our government as one that will not hesitate to sue others who think otherwise. It said that defamation charges are rather common here and also raised issues with our increasingly strict censorship.

We were placed 154th a year ago and are currently ranked below Ethiopia, Tajikistan and Bangladesh.

“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s government responds vigorously to criticism from journalists and does not hesitate to sue its detractors and apply pressure to make them unemployable, or even force them to leave the country.

The Media Development Authority has the power to censor journalistic content, both in the traditional media and online.

Defamation suits are common in the city-state and may sometimes be accompanied by a charge of sedition, which is punishable by up to 21 years in prison. The range of issues and public figures that are off limits for the media is growing. Journalists refer to the red lines as “OB markers” (for out-of-bounds markers).”

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