Singapore | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Singapore's information system is one of the best in the world, but it is also one of the most centrally controlled. This can be attributed to the government's domination, directly and indirectly, of the domestic and foreign news and information media. In recent years, major international publications have been banned, censored or their distribution limited. Official intimidation motivates self-censorship by many domestic journalists, although some commentary in newspapers has been more outspoken in the past year. Most journalists work for media outlets that are linked to the government. The privately held Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), owner of all general circulation newspapers, has close ties to the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). By law, the government must approve the owners of key shares in SPH. The government-affiliated Singapore International Media company runs all four "independent" television stations and 10 of Singapore's 15 domestic radio stations. Four of the remaining five are operated by government-affiliated groups. Government-linked companies also provide the three Internet services and the cable TV service. To close a remaining gap, a new law restricts election campaigning on the Internet and bars the publication of opinion polls during general elections. Some 58 percent of the population logs on to the Internet.