The blogging critic of Singapore’s government, Gopalan Nair, was back in court yesterday (Thursday 12 June) facing a charge of insulting a public servant.
As a result of yesterday’s hearing, Mr Nair is now facing a second charge. The charges relate to emails sent by Nair to two Singapore judges, one of them in 2006.
Mr Nair held a press conference after his court appearance yesterday and said he would fight the charges. He’s back in court on Monday 16 June.
It’s interesting that this case is getting only cursory coverage in the Straits Times newspaper. There’s also no hint in the ST coverage that this might be anything but a routine case of someone “insulting” a public servant.
There’s a brief mention on Channel NewsAsia. Reuters’ correspondent Melanie Lee has written a longer story, but the only link to it I could find is on Yawning Bread [see below].
There’s no irony detectable, or any idea that such a crime is ridiculous to even consider.
It really is a free speech issue, but not according to the Singapore media.
I have been able to find a great description of Gopalan’s hastily-called media conference written by Au Waipang at the Yawning Bread blog. According to Waipang’s report there was plenty of media around, but apparently, it’s not such a huge story.
When I got there about 2:20, I saw a small scrum of reporters sitting on stools sipping iced tea waiting for the show to begin. Straits Times, Today, Reuters, Channel NewsAsia and two more at least, were represented. There were photographers and video cameramen too.