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From contempt of court to fake news: Public legitimisation and governance in mediated Singapore

Lee, H. and Lee, T.ORCID: 0000-0003-3333-0076 (2019) From contempt of court to fake news: Public legitimisation and governance in mediated Singapore. Media International Australia, 173 (1). pp. 81-92.

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Common perceptions and literature on media in Singapore suggest an authoritarian government that either silences or co-opts public media, using repressive laws that are passed unopposed, given the People’s Action Party (PAP) government’s super majority in Parliament. In practice, laws in Singapore are not simply crafted to maximise their effects in silencing political criticism but are also carefully debated – at times with the PAP’s strongest opponents – in public, to rationalise their implementation even before such laws are applied. In studying public discourse surrounding four recent pieces of media legislation, this article argues that the Singapore government strives not just for its right to pass laws at will but is equally concerned with building its legitimacy to govern using these laws. This sophisticated practice, in line with Foucault’s concept of governmentality, seeks to govern by convincing the citizenry to consent the suppression of their own socio-cultural and political freedom.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Creative Media, Arts and Design
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s).
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