• The Singapore government continues to impose wide-ranging restrictions on core civil and political rights. Criminal defamation and contempt of court charges, including “scandalizing the judiciary” are used to rein in criticism of the government and the ruling People’s Action Party. The Public Order Act 2009 mandates a permit for any cause-related assembly in a public place. At the Yale-NUS College, political protests and partisan political societies are prohibited. Singapore implemented welcome legal reforms which granted judges limited sentencing discretion in place of mandatory capital punishment for certain offenses. Singapore maintains article 377A of its penal code to criminalizes sexual acts between consenting adult men. The High Court turned aside a constitutional challenge to that provision, ruling that repeal of the law would further a societal norm that has yet to “gain currency.”
  • A man covers his mouth with a Singaporean 50 dollar note ($40) during a protest against new licensing regulations imposed by the government for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore on June 8, 2013.
    Singapore’s increased restrictions on news websites and other critical speech underscored the downward trend in free expression rights in the city-state.

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