Are you a political website?
In a recent Straits Times, TalkingCock.com was implicitly labelled as a
'political website', which may fall under government regulation during the
runup to elections.
This is despite the fact that TalkingCock is clearly NOT a political website
(i.e. it has no political agenda of its own) but a satirical one, i.e. it
engages in social comment through the use of biting humour. Commenting on
politics is part of this, but not our sole aim at all. Nor are we partisan in
our satire - we make fun of both the government and the opposition.
The unfortunate labelling of TalkingCock is due to the overbroad definition
or perception of 'political site' as any site "which feature(s) local politics in their discussions or online articles."
This, in our humble opinion, is a patent nonsense.
TalkingCock believes that it should not be regulated for the following
1. Under the Singapore Constitution, citizens have the right to freedom
2. The content in TalkingCock is not of the sort that justifies abridging
this fundamental right under the Constitution. It does not threaten
Singapore's national security, foreign relations, public order or morality, and
it is ludicrous to believe it does or ever will. Nor is it defamatory as our
articles are clearly stated to be purely fictitious and humourous and not to be
relied on. Frivolity and irreverence are not illegal, and a citizen has no legal
right not to be outraged or offended.
3. If any site with any political content is considered 'political', then all
newspaper sites are also political. And if sites like TalkingCock or Sintercom
are regulated, so should the Straits Times, The New Paper, Project Eyeball and
4. We believe the citizens of Singapore are now intelligent enough to
cast their votes on the basis of issues, and not uncorroborated rumour. In
any event, it should be the duty of political parties to address issues or
rumours rather than seeking prophylactically to quell opinion.
We urge the government to act with restraint as regulation of speech
invariably restricts plurality of debate and will hamper the creation of an
environment where citizens engage in dynamic and creative thought. It also makes
us look very cock on the international stage, and unbecoming of a global, 21st
The government has had a stellar record of economic achievement, and we hope
they will match this in the social arena by demonstrating the tolerance of
opinion and diversity that makes nations great, and not merely rich.
And then we won't have to be forced to issue these cheong hay (and tiresomely
serious) statements and get back to frivolous fun.
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Editor in Chief