Abstracts of essays; news; announcements; short takes.
dear yawningbread, with no malice intended, although Siew is right to invoke the law given the atrocities that are spewed all over REACH (i gave up reading REACH regarding the NMP nomination. some were downright hate speech which disappointed me and saddened me that other fellow singaporeans were so intolerant), it strangely reminded me of the cases where Chee and others were sued for defamation and libel. While there were many criticisms that the legal suits were to silence and oppress, were the plaintiffs wrong to invoke the law just as Siew had?
If you are referring to the incident during the 2001 election campaign when Chee Soon Juan imputed that the PAP leaders were less than honest with the Suharto money (or something like that - my collection may not be 100 percent accurate), then I'd say the libel suit was called for.My beef is with the quantum of damages.
Libel laws were the reason why the corruption in the NKF remained unexposed for as long as it did. Its eventual exposure was due entirely to the fact that Durai had the stupidity to take on the Straits Times.You want SLAPP laws to go with the libel laws.
And the equivalent of ACLU lawyers to go with the anti-SLAPP laws.
"My beef is with the quantum of damages."My beef is with the fact that the judges no longer seem to fear ridicule from their foreign peers over their conduct in the trial.
dear yawningbread,In your opinion, should CSJ then sue for being called "psychopath" and other names by quite a few prominent people in the national newspapers?
It's sad and disheartening to see now that almost everyone in the civil society is drawing the line on Chee Soon Juan (ie, Yawning Bread) or the SDP (ie, Siew Kum Hong) just to save their own XX.
While I personally hate the litigious environment that the PAP government has created, I am fully in support of Siew Kum Hong's pursuit of legal action because the who's doing the suing and who's being sued - and therefore the power imbalance - is being reversed.With political liberals in Singapore have been particularly vulnerable to being sued this is a welcome correction. Many netizens in Singapore regard wilful conduct intended to cause harm part of free speech, and that's why racism and homophobia are often welcomed even by moderators. Siew Kum Hong would be advancing the cause of free speech development because he would be helping to enforce the "truth" and "responsibility" elements of free speech.
I have a bad feeling about libel suits because I think average people can hardly ever access them, but what I especially don't like are the massive damages that can be awarded in Singapore. I think politicians should be allowed to sue for libel, but I don't think it should be criminal, only a civil matter. Summary judgment should not be allowed. Furthermore, I think monetary damages should be limited to actual damage caused (which the accuser must show), not obscenely large bankrupting payouts. It looks like Siew merely wants defamatory comments removed - this seems to be quite reasonable. I also think politicians should have a very strict standard applied - sometimes people may not have enough proof to allege wrongdoing without fear of a libel suit even if corruption were actually taking place. What if people in America say Bush lied to American people about reasons for going to Iraq? Then Bush sue them for libel yelling "prove it" when he actually did lie and Americans did accuse him of that. Governments should investigate allegations of corruption in elected officials and refute them openly, not settle matters in the courtroom. It's just my preference - I do still think there is a line that can be crossed for civil libel.
If those libel initiators really have proof or even slightest suspicion that Siew is involved in secret funding or involvement with SDP, wouldn't it be more effective for them to make a direct police report against Siew and present whatever suspicion or evidence that they may have to the police. It will certainly kill Siew's nomination for NMP or inflict the greatest damage to his professional career. And it will be ultimate revenge for them, short and sweet. Why such a bother to use the net at all? But the problem is they are not brave enough to identify themselves. As otherwise, they will be exposed if their allegations are found to be not true at all.If the libel initiators have a religious agenda, then it's really scary how fanatic religious extremists can be. If it is the work of other opportunists, it is also equally frightening that some people will have no qualms about taking advantage of such a politically delicate situation.
I can't see how these allegations can be nothing but harmless, since they seem just completely ridiculous. Is he the guy saying that the Swedish politicians are trying to influence Siew somehow? If so, what kind of interest would they have in that?
I greatly admire your work Alex, but I have to reply in the context of your comment to the first Anonymous poster.Do you think Chee Soon Juan should sue Lee Kuan Yew for defamation for calling him a "psychopath"?
I wonder if the laws against defamation can protect gay people more than they have in the past.If someone publishes malicious lies about gays generally, and some one who is openly gay could because of that be said to be thought of badly by anyone who knows him/her, might not that be good grounds for a civil case? I'd be interested in the views of any defamation lawyers out there.
"Now we see a smear and libel campaign against Siew Kum Hong. And going by this record of concocting allegations out of thin air, I even wonder if the allegations of death threats received by the church-linked women who took over AWARE had any basis to them."Dear Yawning BreadBy your statement above, you appear to be insinuating that the ex-new exco lied in their report to the police about the death threats. Aren't you, by your own standards, smearing them without basis?
I second Anon 19 May, 2009 10:06.What CSJ and SDP are advocating and doing are considered ordinary peaceful things in civilized countries. That this line is drawn also by ordinary folk and not just the government shows we still have the bumpkin in our country.
Ya, so let's all just sue each other over the internet lah. Who drew what line according to whose measurement?Then the PAP and LKY will have no excuses for suing the pants off our best opposition members - because we so-called "Liberals" did it ourselves too what!
Anonymous 20 May 2009 07:45 - I see your point. However, I also see a difference in that the prima facie justification for the statement is contained in the same sentence. The credibility of the Josie Lau exco is suspect because of the many twists and turns on their story during the AWARE saga. Moreover, the group that seems to come to their defence, and has now turned on Siew Kum Hong, engage liberally in tactics that are strikingly unrestrained. There is a pattern out there we can hardly ignore. On this basis, one can ask: Was the claim of receiving death threats cut from the same cloth? Perhaps one case was genuine - the one for which a police report was made, but if one goes through the statements made during the saga, there was a tendency to use "death threats" in the plural, effectively suggesting that there were more than one. Yet only one police report was made.
"I see your point. However, I also see a difference in that the prima facie justification for the statement is contained in the same sentence. The credibility of the Josie Lau exco is suspect because of the many twists and turns on their story during the AWARE saga. Moreover, the group that seems to come to their defence, and has now turned on Siew Kum Hong, engage liberally in tactics that are strikingly unrestrained. There is a pattern out there we can hardly ignore. On this basis, one can ask: Was the claim of receiving death threats cut from the same cloth? Perhaps one case was genuine - the one for which a police report was made, but if one goes through the statements made during the saga, there was a tendency to use "death threats" in the plural, effectively suggesting that there were more than one. Yet only one police report was made."Dear Yawning BreadLet me see. Your justification for your allegation in essence is based on the assumption that: a) the group that came to their defence is the same group that is now attacking NMP Siew. This makes the assumption that it is the same group in both cases - I was wondering where the basis for this assumption came from.b) because they were reported using the words "death threats" in plural, and since they said they filed one police report, their credibility is suspect.Hmmmm. I was kind of expecting a better answer than that.
Oh, wow! I see the attack on this article has still not subsided.Dear YB, I believe that you are spot on, to see the pattern of the shadow group that comes out in support of the Josie Lau group and the anti-Siew Kum Hong group.Another point that leaps to mind is the dishonest allegations made against Jufrin something (I forget his name) - there was this police report alleging that Jufrin sent an obscene email. When we got to read the actual email, it turned out that the offending word was "fucked up". Need I stress that fucked up has nothing to do with the penis and vagina, nothing to do with any sexual act? Yeah, it has nothing to do with fucking, I should hope that is clear to all.Yet that dishonest accusation alleging obscenity was repeatedly bandit about, and fully supported by mainstream press too. The person who created that illusion? No less than a powerful figure behind the Josie group. That same group.So, Yawningbread is right to spot the pattern of false accusation made by the shadow group.Until we see the texts of the actual death threats, and count the actual number of death threats that can be shown, we in the blogsphere should know better than to trust the hearsay spread by mainstream media.
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