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Principles of Censorship in Singapore
Administration of censorship in Singapore has
been performed in a typically methodical manner
with guidelines developed through experience.
First, materials going into the home are more
heavily censored than those going into the corporate
world. The Singapore authorities have drawn a
distinction between information for business uses,
which should be as free flowing as possible, and
information for non-business uses. Information for
the home is seen to be of a less critical nature so
censorship of such information is regarded to have
not as deleterious an effect.
Second, materials for the young are more heavily
censored than those for adults. This is an admittedly
paternalistic principle of protecting the weaker
members of society from the possible harm of the
materials in question.
Third, materials for public consumption are more
heavily censored than those for private consumption.
This is a corollary of the second principle as it is
assumed that the public includes those who are
“weaker.” Also, regardless of the level of censorship
those who are determined can always get their hands
on them. Hence private consumption can only be
policed to a limited extent. Further, it is more
efficient to police public instead of private
consumption. It should be noted that private
consumption of censorship materials is still policed
in that those found in private possession of censored
materials can be convicted in court.
Finally, materials deemed to have artistic and
educational merit are less heavily censored. This is a
recently articulated principle and has been applied to
movies, which now have an R(A) or Restricted
In sum, censorship in Singapore has an element