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OSC Media Aid: Singapore Media at a Glance
SEF20090113463001 Singapore — OSC Media Aid in English 13 Jan 09
Government controls and self-censorship keep the media in prosperous, well-educated Singapore unusually clear of any antigovernment, extremist, or otherwise objectionable material. A government agency runs all broadcast stations, and the ruling party indirectly controls the print media. A variety of restrictions and the threat of libel suits discourage political criticism across all media outlets.
This small island republic’s 4.6 million people boast a 92.5% literacy rate, a per capita GDP of nearly USD$50,000 (World Factbook), and a 58.6% Internet access rate (Internet World Stats).
There is no prepublication censorship, but media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 141 out of 169 in its Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2007, citing “rigorous self-censorship” in coverage of domestic politics. Internet access is regulated, and private ownership of satellite dishes is banned. Singapore government officials also have a record of winning defamation suits against foreign publications (BBC Country Profile, news.bbc.co.uk).
Singapore Press Holdings, which has close links to the ruling People’s Action Party, publishes 17 newspapers in English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil, including the top-selling The Straits Times. This English-language daily had an average daily circulation of 386,000 as of 2005.
MediaCorp, owned by a state investment agency, operates all seven local TV channels and radio stations. The seven TV channels include entertainment-based Channel 5 and Channel 8, Mandarin-language Channel U, and Channel NewsAsia, widely known for its news and information content among English-speaking viewers. Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp merged their free newspaper and TV operations at the beginning of 2005.