"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

"The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty." - Eugene McCarthy


Singapore press freedom ranked near Iraq, Bhutan

SINGAPORE, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Singapore, Southeast Asia's wealthiest country, is among the region's poorest in terms of press freedom, an official of Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres said on Thursday.

An annual index produced by the media monitoring group that was published on Tuesday ranked Singapore 147th out of 167 countries, faring worse than tightly governed states such as Russia and Bhutan and just one notch above Iraq.

"It is very strange that in a country where you have so much access to international sources, at the same time you have very limited access to local information and coverage of what is really happening in the country," said Vincent Brossel, a spokesman for Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres.

China was ranked in 162nd place out of 167 and has locked up the largest number of journalists with 27 reporters currently behind bars and at least another 35 cyber-activists detained for spreading dissenting views, the group said.

Singapore's two media giants, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and MediaCorp, "keep strict control of the editorial line" of their newspapers, television and radio stations, Brossel said.

"There is no independent media or any media in Singapore that can criticise the government, and that shows there is no press freedom at all," he said.

SPH is a near-monopoly publishing group with state links that was formerly run by an ex-director of the Internal Security Department. MediaCorp is 100 percent-owned by the government and mainly operates free-to-air television stations.

Singapore's main English daily, The Straits Times, which is published by SPH, "practices systematic self-censorship in its domestic reporting", Reporters Sans Frontieres said in a report that accompanied the publication of the latest index.

The tightly controlled city-state is known for its heavy handed state censorship in the media and arts, largely enforced through a system of issuing publication and performance licences.

Public expression is a delicate act in Singapore, even for foreign news organisations. International newspapers such as The Asian Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune have paid large amounts of damages in libel cases brought by senior government figures such as former prime minister Goh Chok Tong and minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Last month, The Economist apologised to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and agreed to pay 127,000 pounds ($227,700) in damages over an article on a government company run by his wife.

But the city-state's ambition to be a global media hub has led to a gradual easing of its tough censorship laws with bans lifted on U.S. women's magazine "Cosmopolitan" and award-winning sitcom Sex and the City.

Reporters Sans Frontieres also identified countries in East Asia, such as North Korea and Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East as having either an absence of an independent media or a situation in which journalists are "persecuted and censored on a daily basis".

We have the best airport in the world and the most highly paid ministers, but can't even get in the 50th percentile for press freedom. Ah well.


Timothy Leary - "He is most famous as a proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD... Dr. Leary argued that LSD, used with the right dosage, set (what one brings to the experience), and setting, preferably with the guidance of professionals, could alter behavior in unprecedented and beneficial ways. His experiments produced no murders, suicides, psychoses, and supposedly no bad trips. The goals of Leary's research included finding better ways to treat alcoholism and to reform convicted criminals. Many of Leary's research participants reported profound mystical and spiritual experiences, which they claim permanently altered their lives in a very positive manner."
Yet more non-religious life-changing experiences


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