Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Singapore demands government license for websites, censors LGBT speech

Singapore is apparently taking a draconian view of web speech.  It requires that an website having 50000 visitors a month from Singapore have a government license.  And it will censor or ban any content advocating gay and lesbian materials, as well as other supposed “vices”.
  
Singapore may be sensitive to its demographic issue and fear that LGBT content will lead to lower birth rates.  Procreation has always been a sensitive issue in Singapore’s culture.

Singapore is well known for very draconian rules regarding public conduct, littering, and the like, and actually punished an American visitor in the 90s with caning.
  
Anna Leach has the story for Gay Star News here
  
There is a sense that the anti-gay content rules probably will not be enforced, although web filters could try to ban them. Violators could face fines.  It is unclear what happens with foreign sites with large numbers of Singapore visitors. As a practical matter, Singapore could not collect a fine from a non-Singapore resident (me) but it could try to censor content.  

My own sites have very little traffic from China or SE Asia (probably banned), but do have traffic from the Middle East (even Saudi Arabia) and Russia.

Russia has tried to ban the promotion of homosexuality, as have some former republics.  These countries may be very sensitive to population loss. 


I still wonder what happens in corporations when LGBT employees are transferred to non-western countries hostile to homosexuality.  Maybe this has something to do with Exxon-Mobil’s reported refusal to guarantee non-discrimination.  

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