atans1

Amos: Misled or misunderstood the law?

In Internet, Uncategorized on 07/05/2015 at 4:39 am

Today, Amos will stand trial and if he’s going to base his defence on his “right” of free speech, he should think again given that yesterday, a high court judge dismissed his application that the bail conditions, which forbid him from uploading or distributing any content online until his case has concluded, amounted to a gag order*.

It seems he believes in a constitutional right to suka suka say what he likes: Yee was remanded after the pre-trial conference, as he refused to set his blog posts to private. He had earlier flouted bail conditions by publishing two posts on his blog. His lawyer Alfred Dodwell said the teen feels very strongly that he has not done anything wrong with his posts.

“The Constitution does provide for a person to have the freedom of speech and expression, hence he feels very strongly that he is just doing that,” said Mr Dodwell**. (CNA last Friday).

Well M Ravi, Maruah and all the other ang moh tua kee kay pohs will be cheering Amos on (There’s a soccer match going on, the poor boy [Amos] is the ball, and the crowd watches in morbid fascination as the own-goals pile up on both sides. The new normal way to win, wrote a perceptive reader of this article https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/amos-parents-finally-got-it-walk-the-talk-amoss-groupies/#comments).

Sadly for Amos, the constitution is pretty clear on the limits on free speech here.

(2)  Parliament may by law impose —

(a)
on the rights conferred by clause (1)(a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;***
Pretty clear ain’t it. There are a lot of exceptions to freedom of speech here. The bolded words mean, and the courts have said so too, that it’s very easy to limit free speech here: just pass a law thru parly.
So where did this boy get the idea that in S’pore we have the kind of freedom of speech that people in the US and PinoyLand have? We don’t. There is the right of free speech but only in very limited circumstances. And S’poreans seem happy with the situation. Since the 1960s, S’pore has been a de-facto one-party state: the PAP wins general elections with majorities of over 60%, often a lot more.
Here’s something that Amos should read https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/will-m-ravis-barrage-of-constitutional-challenges-change-anything/
(Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/m-ravis-grandfathers-parliament-is-it/)
So where did this boy get the idea that in S’pore we have the kind of freedom of speech that people in the US and PinoyLand have? Whether he was misled on or misunderstood the law on freedom of speech here, Amos’s failure to understand the law relating to free speech here shows the power of cyberspace: he like many young people is a cybernaut.
Mr Cheong Yip Seng (LKY’s favourite newsman, ex-ST chief editor) told us of an incident which showed that LKY was aware of the impact of new media. One November evening in 1999, Mr Lee telephoned Mr Cheong. He was troubled by a new information phenomenon, which was threatening to overwhelm the traditional media industry: eyeballs were migrating from print newspapers to cyberspace. Mr Cheong said that LKY was anxious about how the information revolution would impact the Singapore traditional media.

“He was anxious to find a response that would enable the mainstream media to keep its eyeballs. He wanted us at Singapore Press Holdings to think about the way forward.”

Well SPH, and the rest of constructive, nation-building media didn’t do what they were ordered to, did they? That despite throwing serious money and other resources at the problem.

Cybernauts. do not think the “right” tots.

For society the problem is that in cyberspace, anything goes. There is plenty of misleading information and lies out there from the likes of Roy Ngerng and Ng Kok Lim. And there is the bigotry of lazy abstraction, when commenting: “PAP always wrong”. (Mind you this does balance the “PAP is always right” of the SPH and MediaCorp publications, channels and stations.)

Then there is the issue of only listening to others who share one’s views and values, rather than being exposed to different views. Again the SPH and MediaCorp publications, channels and stations do the same, to be fair to cyberspace.

————————————-
*“We have informed the court from the outset that the bail conditions are too wide and in violation of his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression,” Mr Alfred Dodwell, Amos Yee’s lawyer, said.“How can one place a gag order when he has not even been found guilty? So we had to challenge it.”(TOC)
ST reported: Mr Dodwell said that being on social media was “the equivalent of him drinking water” and the conditions were “taking away a lot from him.”

During the hearing, Justice Tay Yong Kwang asked Mr Dodwell what was so difficult about complying with these social media conditions. “They just have to learn to curb themselves,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/amos-yees-mother-took-his-son-see-psychiatrist-he-stopped-after-tw#sthash.kAzMyQfJ.dpuf

**“We always advise our clients to comply with all conditions, until otherwise revoked,” he continued. “But if a client chooses not to comply, we don’t father the client, we just tell the client what to do, and if the client refuses to do so, we do ask why but we don’t probe further than that. They face the consequences of that action.”
***Freedom of speech, assembly and association

14.

—(1)  Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —

(a)
every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b)
all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and
(c)
all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.
(2)  Parliament may by law impose —

(a)
on the rights conferred by clause (1)(a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;
(b)
on the right conferred by clause (1)(b), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof or public order; and
(c)
on the right conferred by clause (1)(c), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3)  Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by clause (1) (c) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.
  1. […] Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Amos: Misled or misunderstood the law? – My Singapore News: Amos Yee – Making a mountain from a mole hill – Singapore […]

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