SAFENET — a network of Southeast Asia bloggers and online activists who fight for the freedom expression online for Internet users in Southeast Asia — have paid special attention to the case of the Roy Ngerng, a blogger from Singapore who has written nearly 400 articles over the past 2 years on The Heart Truths To Keep The Singaporean Thinking http://thehearttruths.com
We have followed the case since it first appeared on the May 19, 2014 until when Mr. Ngerng was found guilty of defaming the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mr. Ngerng had to pay a fine of S$180,000. Due to the large sum, Mr. Ngerng now has to pay S$100 each month starting April 2016 until April 2021, and then $1,000 every month from 2021 to 2033 – for a total of 17 years.
These facts present an alarming campaign of harassment by a head of state against an individual blogger reporting on matters of public concern. These facts constitute multiple violations of the right to freedom of expression. These facts intended not only to silence Mr. Ngerng, but to have send an unequivocal chilling message to Singaporeans that there are severe consequences for criticizing the government, whether in the relatively free online space or in the heavily restricted physical public space.
Therefore after observing the case, we send this letter to Government of Singapore.