Kelvin Teo, in his article, wrote “..it can be ironically argued that defamation suits may end up being a positive selective pressure in improving the quality of political discourse.”
Ng E-Jay has written a good piece in response to that article.
I’m not a lawyer or academic or politician or university student. But i’ve been an activist for quite a bit of time and i can say that there’s nothing positive about the PAP’s (ab)use of politically-motivated defamation suits against its opponents, or to be more specific, those opponents whom they strongly feel are a threat to them and their hold on power.
Teo refers to Dr Chee Soon Juan, the late J B Jeyaretnam and Tang Liang Hong and “positive selective pressure” with regards to these defamation suits.
Let’s just imagine if any one of these individuals simply said the chicken crossed the road. It would have been twisted, mangled, taken out of context and what not, and whoever said it will be accused of calling the PAP and/or its leaders chicken – meaning cowards – and thus defamatory and get sued.
Meaning, defamation suits are used to painfully ridiculous levels to silence those opponents whom the PAP feels are a real threat to them and their hold on power and it doesn’t really matter what these opponents said/wrote as long as they are rid off.
Not only are such lawsuits very damaging for the individuals targeted. They are also damaging to the country itself because when it comes to politics (writing and/or talking about it) it still creates self-censorship & fear among the majority of the populace who take away one message from these politically motivated defamation lawsuits: why get involved in such things, open mouth and get sued!