SINGAPORE — Dr James Gomez, the regional director for the research institute Asia Centre will be headlining a forum to launch a report titled, ‘Political hate sites in Singapore: Flourishing without repercussions’ on Sat Jul 8, at 10.30 am at Palms Bistro.
The report aims to lay out details of how hate sites and internet brigades undermine and maliciously negate the criticism of public officials and policy in Singapore. Those targeted by these hate sites include civil society organisations, independent media outlets and journalists, human rights lawyers, opposition political parties and politicians in Singapore.
“When I was approached and asked if Asia Centre could do a report on Singapore, I said why not? After all the centre has published other reports on Myanmar, Timor Leste, Cambodia and Malaysia. So I said, why not Singapore,” said Dr Gomez in a video to promote the forum this Saturday.
Asia Centre also mentioned that Singapore, a one-party dominated state, has regularly updated and passed new legislation that criminalises criticism of its public officials and policies, leaving only a narrow margin for expressing dissenting views within the established legal boundaries.
“As a result, the government can repress opposition voices through the tight policing of political expression both offline and online. This includes blocking, removing, and de-legitimising critical online content, as well as prosecuting content creators and distributors. This leads to the manipulation of the public narrative and fosters widespread self-censorship,” added Asia Centre.
If you are interested in attending the event, you may register here – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfRQPlZVUxqm4ClUTWxfcpdXs0pG30uKiAgqvmTgPafM3Hhyw/viewform
Dr Gomez is no stranger to Singapore’s political landscape as he had contested in several general elections. His first was with the Workers’ Party in 2006 in Aljunied GRC. In subsequent elections, he was a candidate for the Singapore Democratic Party. In 2011, he contested Sembawang GRC, and in 2020 he ran in Holland – Bukit Timah GRC. Prior to his involvement in politics, Dr Gomez was active in several non-governmental organisations that advocate for free speech, human rights, and electoral reform in Singapore.
As Asia Centre’s regional director, Dr Gomez is responsible for its strategic development and oversees the operation in both Thailand and Malaysia. The centre recently launched a report on Thailand and Malaysia, titled ‘State-Sponsored Online Disinformation: Impact On Electoral Integrity In Thailand’, and ‘Youth and Disinformation in Malaysia: Strengthening Electoral Integrity’ respectively.
Readers may visit the following link to read the two reports and other baseline studies by Asia Centre – https://asiacentre.org/baseline-studies/