Singapore news portal on 'hiatus' after computers seized by police

An independent media company in Singapore has announced that it is on indefinite "hiatus" following the seiz...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 12:43 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 12:43 PM

An independent media company in Singapore has announced that it is on indefinite "hiatus" following the seizure by police of computer equipment owned by its chief editor.

The Online Citizen, a Singaporean internet news portal, announced in a post on its Facebook page that it was forced to temporarily shutter following the loss of the equipment, which was used to produce content for its online site.

Asia

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Law enforcement

Policing and police forces

Singapore

Southeast Asia

Freedom of speech

Human rights

International relations and national security

Internet and WWW

Social media

Technology

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Freedom of press

Journalism and news media

Media industry

Criminal investigations

Criminal law

Intentional torts

Investigations

Law and legal system

Libel and slander

Torts

Companies

Facebook

The devices "have been seized by the Singapore Police Force for an investigation into an alleged offense of Criminal Defamation under Section 21 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 68," the post says.

"The equipment, which include desktop, mobile devices and laptops, was seized at the residence of Terry Xu in the presence of five police officers this morning. No confirmed date of return has been given as investigation will take some time to conclude."

The Online Citizen's mission is to be an "open independent platform for alternative voices in Singapore," the site says on its Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 followers.

The equipment was reportedly seized in relation to an article examining a Facebook post by Singaporean lawmaker Seah Kian Peng, in which he criticized several journalists for meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.

The Singapore Police confirmed to CNN that a report has been lodged against TOC and the author of the article.

"The Online Citizen (TOC) article ... made serious allegations that the government's highest officers are corrupt and that the constitution has been tampered with," the emailed statement read.

"The Police are investigating this, for the offense of criminal defamation. Electronic equipment such as laptops and (cell)phones were seized in relation to the case."

CNN has contacted the Singapore government for comment.

The critical article, entitled "The takeaway from Seah Kian Ping's Facebook post" has since been removed from TOC's website.

Human rights groups slammed the move to seize Xu's property, arguing that it amounted to a "constriction of freedom of expression," according to Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson.

"Singapore's rights abusing constriction of freedom of expression was on clear display in the police raid," Robertson said in a statement.

"Seizing computers and equipment is over-the-top harassment that will unfairly prevent the TOC from publishing its independent stories that critically scrutinize the government.

He added in a tweet that the seizure of Xu's equipment was intended to "intimidate independent media (and) human rights advocates.

"When it comes to freedom of press, Singapore is just as bad as Laos, Vietnam, (and) Cambodia. Bad company to keep for a 'democracy.'"

Journalism advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders ranks Singapore at 151 out of 180 countries for press freedom, and states that the government "reacts quickly to criticism from journalists and does not hesitate to sue them, apply pressure to make them unemployable, or even force them to leave the country."

Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are ranked 170, 175 and 142 respectively.

Singapore's Media Development Authority, it adds, has the power to censor all forms of journalistic content.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34830

Reported Deaths: 2143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9900581
Lake3639190
Allen166269
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph128634
Hendricks117171
Hamilton116293
Johnson1115109
Madison59359
Porter54328
Bartholomew51535
Clark50541
LaPorte43824
Howard41528
Tippecanoe4143
Jackson3921
Delaware38539
Shelby37322
Hancock34027
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Vanderburgh2822
Morgan28024
Montgomery24517
Noble23721
White2378
Clinton2331
Decatur22431
Grant21323
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18411
Greene16925
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Warrick16628
Monroe16612
Lawrence16524
Kosciusko1501
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Jennings1304
Orange13022
Scott1203
Marshall1112
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Carroll932
Daviess9216
Wayne855
LaGrange842
Steuben842
Wabash792
Fayette787
Newton7810
Jasper681
Jay530
Washington521
Clay511
Fulton491
Randolph483
Rush472
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley433
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Perry330
Brown331
Wells320
Benton310
Huntington282
Knox280
Blackford262
Tipton251
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Adams171
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35984

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5933271
Cuyahoga4508241
Hamilton2698151
Marion266828
Lucas2277248
Pickaway208637
Summit1453176
Mahoning1438178
Butler90931
Columbiana87552
Stark73692
Lorain69259
Montgomery68416
Trumbull58250
Belmont43513
Warren37821
Miami35830
Tuscarawas3493
Medina34624
Ashtabula34035
Delaware33713
Portage32757
Lake30913
Clark2956
Wood29547
Geauga28632
Fairfield2806
Wayne27750
Licking24910
Mercer2167
Clermont2135
Allen21233
Richland2013
Erie17514
Darke17422
Madison1557
Washington11819
Crawford1154
Morrow1071
Ottawa10316
Greene1035
Putnam9314
Sandusky8111
Monroe7914
Ross722
Auglaize723
Hocking695
Jefferson672
Hardin610
Huron601
Williams551
Muskingum520
Union521
Hancock501
Fulton440
Clinton431
Shelby433
Holmes431
Wyandot422
Coshocton400
Fayette400
Logan390
Preble391
Guernsey361
Defiance342
Carroll313
Lawrence300
Brown291
Champaign281
Highland251
Knox251
Vinton212
Seneca202
Ashland200
Scioto180
Perry181
Athens181
Henry160
Jackson140
Paulding140
Adams101
Harrison100
Gallia81
Pike80
Meigs60
Noble60
Van Wert60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 81°
Angola
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Scattered Storms Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events