Social media sites block satirical rap video in Singapore after government complaint

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Facebook and other social media sites have restricted access to a satirical rap video in Singapore after the government of the wealthy Asian city-state requested the removal of content it said could fan racial tension.

The expletive-laced video by an ethnic Indian comedy duo was made in response to an advertisement featuring a Chinese actor portraying different races by darkening his skin and wearing a hijab, the headdress worn by devout Muslim women.

The saga has reignited debate about racial attitudes in the Chinese-majority country, and about its government’s ability to restrict content, with a controversial new fake news law set to take effect.

“We may have to restrict access to content because it violates a law in a particular country, even though it doesn’t violate our community standards,” a Facebook (FB.O) spokesman said in response to a question from Reuters.

Reuters could not access copies of the video on Facebook that had previously been available.

An upload of the video on website YouTube, which had attracted more than 40,000 views, carried an advisory reading, “This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government”.

A separate notice on Twitter said content had been withheld in Singapore in response to a legal demand. Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O), the owner of YouTube, and Twitter (TWTR.N) declined comment.

The video was designed to make minorities angry with Chinese Singaporeans, law and home minister K Shanmugam said this week, adding that the government had asked Facebook to remove it.

Singapore police said they were investigating the video and would not tolerate offensive content that caused ill-will between races.

Ethnic Chinese make up 76% of Singapore’s domestic population, while Malays and Indians make up 15% and 8% respectively.

Media regulator IMDA said the publishers of the video had agreed to take down the original, and it had asked individuals and internet platforms to cooperate in removing copies being shared online.

The government response has sparked accusations of double standards by some online users who said similar action was not taken against those behind the ad, who have apologized for any offense and removed it.

Social media firms joined rights groups in airing concern about freedom of speech in Singapore after a measure passed this year requiring media platforms to carry corrections or remove content the government deems false.

The law has yet to take effect.

“Just blocking a video is a crude way to deal with a complex problem and it won’t lead to any constructive solutions,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The pending fake news law “changes the rules of the road for freedom of expression on the internet for anything to do with Singapore,” he added.

Previous Article
Next Article

10 Replies to “Social media sites block satirical rap video in Singapore after government complaint”

  1. cat hat

    Needed to put you one little note to give many thanks again for your personal exceptional thoughts you have shared here.
    It has been simply extremely open-handed of you in giving openly precisely what a few individuals could possibly have marketed for
    an ebook to get some profit for their own end, even more so given that you might have done it in the event
    you considered necessary. The tricks likewise worked like the great way to know that the rest have similar dream much like my
    very own to know whole lot more pertaining to this issue. I
    think there are a lot more fun instances up front for
    individuals that look over your blog.

  2. cat hat

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your weblog.

    You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off,
    I’d really like to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.

    Please send me an email if interested. Cheers!

  3. cat hat

    I wanted to write you the very small word to be able to say thanks
    a lot again for all the splendid thoughts you’ve contributed
    on this page. This has been so wonderfully open-handed of you in giving publicly all that a lot of people could have distributed for an electronic book to make some money for their own end,
    mostly considering the fact that you could possibly have done it in case you wanted.
    These points additionally acted like the good way to be
    certain that someone else have similar keenness much like mine to
    find out way more with respect to this problem.
    I know there are several more pleasant instances in the future for folks
    who scan your blog post.

  4. cat hat

    What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads.
    I hope to give a contribution & assist other users like its
    helped me. Great job.

  5. cat hat

    Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this article i thought i could
    also make comment due to this brilliant piece of writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *