Historical Perspective: “A Note On Academic Freedom and Politics”

As part of an irregular series, New Naratif will highlight historical articles that not only offer an interesting window into the past, but can also help shed light on the world today. For the previous entry in this series, please see Singapore is Not a Self-Governing State by Tommy Koh.

Academic freedom in Singapore has long been under threat. In Out of Bounds: Freedom of Expression in Singapore Revisited, Dr James Rowlins discussed limitations on freedom of expression and academic freedom that he encountered while a lecturer in film and media studies at the Singapore University of Technology and Design from 2012 to 2018, and further elaborated on these in his podcast discussion with us. Prof Teo You Yenn at Nanyang Technological University has also described the culture of fear at NTU and her worries about Singapore’s “fake news” law (POFMA).

Last week, her fears about the law were proven true when New Naratif was issued a Correction Direction under that law. We have condemned this action and plan to contest it through the appropriate legal channels. In our opinion, POFMA Correction Directions like the one we received are an attempt to intimidate independent media and are designed to strike fear into the hearts of the government’s critics and citizenry.

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