Monday, July 12, 2010

Here we go again - Govt bans another Martyn See's film

The Singapore Government has banned my video recording of a speech by former political prisoner Dr Lim Hock Siew. The prohibition will take effect on Wednesday 14th July 2010.

In a letter and an accompanying press release (see below) delivered to my home by two men at 4.50pm, it stated that the film has been banned under Section 35(1) of the Films Act. This section gives the Minister broad discretionary powers to ban any film he deems to be "contrary to public interest".

This is the second film to be banned under Section 35. The first, Zahari's 17 Years, was an interview film directed by me. Made in 2006, it was officially banned in 2007.

In an exact carbon copy of the reasons for the ban, the government's press release alleged that film 'gives a distorted and misleading portrayal of Dr Lim's arrests and detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1963. Dr Lim was detained during Operation Coldstore in 1963 and was held for 19 years, a record second only to Dr Chia Thye Poh.

The film, which I had labelled "Dr Lim Hock Siew", was submitted to the Board of Film Censors in February 2010. Since then, it had been undergoing review by the Political Films Consultative Committee (PFCC), a seven-member advisory panel set up to criminalise "party political films", an offence under Section 33 of the Films Act. Since the PFCC has never communicated with me, I have no idea what the committee had thought of the film. A moot point now, as RADM Lui Tuck Yew, the Acting Minister for Information, Communications & the Arts, has now decided to ban the film outright.

The letter also stated that I should take down all digital copies of the film on youtube and on this blog. So watch it now while it is still online, or you may download it using the following websites.

http://keepvid.com/
http://download-youtube-videos.org/
http://www.getvideomp3.com/

Latest : This video will self-destruct by 2359 hrs tonight. Look for it elsewhere after that.







Censors ban Martyn See's film on Dr Lim Hock Siew
By Claire Huang | Posted: 12 July 2010 1745 hrs

SINGAPORE: Censors have banned the film "Dr Lim Hock Siew" by filmmaker Martyn See Tong Ming, with effect from July 14 under the Films Act, saying it is against 'public interest'.

A statement from the Information, Communications and the Arts Ministry said the film "gives a distorted and misleading portrayal of Dr Lim's arrests and detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1963."

It added that the government "will not allow individuals who have posed a security threat to Singapore's interests in the past, to use media platforms such as films to make baseless accusations against the authorities."

Neither will it allow such individuals to use films to give a false portrayal to exculpate their guilt, or undermine public confidence in the government.

The film, banned from July 14, has also not been granted a certificate for its exhibition.

Under the Films Act, possession and distribution of a prohibited film is an offence.

An offender is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

Last September, censors passed "Singapore Rebel," a film by the same filmmaker which features opposition figure Chee Soon Juan.

It passed with an M18 rating - four years after it was banned.

It became the first political film to make the cut after the Films Act was amended in March to relax the rules on such films.

- CNA/al/jm

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Ban on video recording of Lim Hock Siew speech

STRAITS TIMES
Cassandra Chew
13 Jul 2010

THE Government has banned a video recording of a speech made by former political detainee Lim Hock Siew, on the grounds that it is against public interest.

The video by filmmaker Martyn See, 41, gives a 'distorted and misleading portrayal' of Dr Lim's detention under the Internal Security Act, said the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (Mica) in a statement yesterday.

Mica added: 'The Singapore Government will not allow individuals who have posed a security threat to Singapore's interests in the past to use media platforms such as films to make baseless accusations against the authorities, give a false portrayal of their previous activities in order to exculpate their guilt, and undermine public confidence in the Government in the process.'

The prohibition, which takes effect tomorrow, makes it an offence for anyone to distribute the video, entitled Dr Lim Hock Siew, or possess a copy of it.

Anyone who commits the offence can be fined up to $10,000, or jailed up to two years, or both.

Mr See told The Straits Times yesterday that the Media Development Authority had instructed him, in a letter, to surrender all copies of his video and remove any digital versions that are online.

The 22-minute video is available on video-sharing website YouTube and on his blog. It shows Dr Lim, 79, giving a speech last November at a book launch where he recounted his experiences as a political detainee.

He was arrested in 1963 under Operation Cold Store, a massive security sweep that put more than 100 communists and suspected communists behind bars, and detained without trial until 1982.

Mr See recorded the speech and uploaded the film to YouTube the next day.

In February, he submitted it to the Board of Film Censors for classification, 'because the law says so', he said.

He said he had not expected the ban as the law on political films was relaxed last year.

'The amendments to Section 33 of the Films Act now allow for live recordings of an event held according to the law. The film Dr Lim Hock Siew fits that bill, and therefore I was confident it would not be illegal,' he added.

The recording, however, was classified under Section 35(1) of the Films Act, which allows for the banning of any film that is contrary to public interest.

Only one other film has been prohibited under this category, in 2007. It was also by Mr See.

The film, called Zahari's 17 Years, was a 50-minute interview with another former political detainee, Said Zahari. Mr See directed, shot and edited it.

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SINGAPORE - The Government has banned the film Dr Lim Hock Siew by film-maker Martyn See, saying it was against "public interest" and "gives a distorted and misleading portrayal of Dr Lim's arrests and detention under the Internal Security Act in 1963".

A statement from the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts said the Government "will not allow individuals who have posed a security threat to Singapore's interests in the past to use media platforms such as films to make baseless accusations against the authorities".

Neither will such individuals be allowed to use films to give a false portrayal to exonerate themselves.

The decision comes after another See film, Singapore Rebel, was passed last September, four years after it was banned. Featuring opposition figure Chee Soon Juan, it was given an M18 rating - the first political film to make the cut after the rules on such films were relaxed.

Mr See told MediaCorp yesterday he had expected his new film, which features Dr Lim's speech at a book launch last November, to get the green light as Dr Lim had been interviewed by The Straits Times and the book, Fajar Generation, had been permitted for sale here. The book tells of the struggles in the 1950s and 1960s of the University of Malaya Socialist Club, of which Dr Lim was a member.

Mr See said he had also been asked to remove the YouTube video of the film, which he is "considering".

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1 comment:

tauhuayboy said...

Hey Martyn, just wanted to say that you are doing a good job. Don't be discouraged by the ban, use it as an encouragement :)