Agence France Presse
September 2, 2005
A SINGAPOREAN activist has filed a police complaint against national broadcaster MediaCorp for allegedly violating the island's Films Act banning political advertising using film or video.
The complaint, filed by Yap Keng Ho, accuses MediaCorp of screening two programs about ruling People's Action Party leaders and is meant as a protest against Singapore's stringent censorship, Yap said.
Yap told AFP Friday, Sept 2, he wanted to expose a pro-ruling party bias in the legislation banning political films with his complaint, which comes as police investigate independent Singaporean film maker Martyn See for making a documentary about an opposition leader.
The Films Act bans political advertising using films or videos, as well as movies directed towards any political end such as promoting parties.
"I feel that it is a very unfair and biased legislation," Yap, a 44-year-old information technology consultant, told AFP. "I want to show the world whether law enforcement (in Singapore) is going to be fair or not."
Yap's complaint alleges that MediaCorp had violated the Films Act by screening two programs in 2002 and this year featuring Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, respectively.
A spokesman for the Singapore police confirmed they received the complaint "and are currently making the necessary checks with the Media Development Authority (MDA)."
A spokesman for MediaCorp said they were unaware of Yap's complaint.
On Monday, filmmaker See surrendered to police his camera and remaining tapes of the documentary "Singapore Rebel" about Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party.
Chee, the most vocal opposition politician in Singapore, is facing bankruptcy after the High Court ordered him to pay S$500,000 (US$300,000) for defaming PAP leaders.
Affluent Singapore has often been criticised by human rights groups for maintaining strict political controls despite its rapid modernisation since becoming a republic 40 years ago last month. Singapore has been ruled by the PAP since independence.