Censorship of the Arts in Singapore

1474 Words Mar 24th, 2008 6 Pages
What is the right balance to strike between freedom of and restrictions upon artistic expression?
The commonly accepted definition of censorship- that certain texts, images, or films should be banned. The Longman’s English Dictionary defines censorship as to examine books, films, letters etc, to remove anything that is considered offensive, morally harmful, or politically dangerous. Narrowing down the definition to cover The Arts scene in Singapore, the question beckons should anyone have the power to place restrictions on an individual’s freedom of expression? One might liken that tying a gag over someone’s mouth!
In a recent dialogue with Minister Mentor Lee (Friday, October 5th, 2007 – Singapore: From Arts to censorship), students
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Lastly, we should note that people are not being forced to view artwork at gunpoint. Every member of the public has the right to avert their eyes & not look at art that offends them. Similarly, they can refrain from entering a gallery with an exhibition of offensive works.
The risks of stifling free expression far outweigh the potential for unacceptable material. Content which we consider perfectly acceptable today would have been regarded as taboo 50 years ago. In the report of the Censorship Review Committee of 2003, it was noted that the report was kept relevant against the backdrop of our social evolution and changing global landscape while understanding the need to fan the creative flames of the new generation and to accommodate the diversity of views. The social “glue” that bonds our society was not to be compromised, namely Singapore’s core values, identity, shared memories, religious and racial harmony. But the question one has to ask would be, are these changes coming fast enough to cope with the blooming art’s scene here, or is it a tightening noose fighting progress and growth? The report declares that “censorship is not just about classification, or access control; nor is it simply about liberalisation or tightening up. Censorship is multi-dimensional, relating media and artistic expression to the social values of community.” (Part IV, 9.0, Conclusion, pg 71) I beg to differ.
So does censorship help the artistic cause? Would the general public

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