Freedom Of Expression – Really Free?

by Patrick Liew on March 15, 2017

The Reuters report is but another attempt by a liberal press to promote its version of freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is not absolute and there’s no standard definition of freedom of expression that’s agreed upon and adopted by every country in the developed world.

It’s defined in each country in accordance with its unique experience, values, culture, customary behaviour, and aspiration.

As such, freedom of expression is politically and culturally relative, and is viewed and practiced differently in each western democracy.

That’s why it’s hypocritical when overseas’ parties accuse Singapore of restricting freedom of expression and trying to impose their version of freedom of expression on us.

They define values according to their terms and believe that they have the rights to impose their values on us and we cannot do the same to them.

The sad truth is that despite promoting their value system, many of these countries have not lived up to these values and have not shown to the world major fruits of moral progress.

Instead, we have witnessed the rise of fake news, post-truths, and alternate realities and these misinformation have caused untold harm and damages.

In Singapore, it’s generally accepted that freedom of expression comes with responsibility.

It should not endanger the country, community and environment.

And cause feelings of ill-will, hostility, hatred and enmity between different racial or religious groups.

Freedom of expression should also not be used to justify libel and slander.

There are values in standing on principles and defending one’s honour, character and integrity.

This is the Singapore way, practiced by many honorable and respected leaders.

That’s why, Singapore has a good standing in the international community for clean government and sound governance.

If you have a chance to travel overseas, you’ll know that Singapore is widely admired and highly regarded in many parts of the world.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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