S’pore govt bans another Martyn See film

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Another film by Singaporean filmmaker Martyn See was ordered banned by the city state effective 14 July 2010 because it was “deemed contrary to public interest”, reports the South East Asian Press Alliance (Seapa).

The Singapore government’s Media Development Authority (MDA) also ordered See to take down all digital copies of the film uploaded on video website YouTube and See’s own blog.

According to See’s blog, his video, entitled “Ex-political prisoner speaks out in Singapore” or “Dr. Lim Hock Siew” registered 49,903 views as of 12 July 2010, shortly after announcement of the prohibition.

The film was banned under Section 35(1) of the Films Act. See said that “this section gives the Minister broad discretionary powers to ban any film he deems to be ‘contrary to public interest'”.

This is See’s second film to be forbidden from being publicly shown in Singapore under Section 35. The first, “Zahari’s 17 Years”, was made in 2006 and was officially banned in 2007.

The Singapore government issued a statement saying that See’s film “gives a distorted and misleading portrayal of Dr. Lim’s arrests and detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1963.”

See said that “Dr. Lim was detained during Operation Coldstore in 1963 and was held for 19 years, a record second only to Dr. Chia Thye Poh.”

“Dr. Lim Hock Siew” was submitted to the Board of Film Censors in February 2010.   See said it had undergone review by the Political Films Consultative Committee (PFCC), a seven-member advisory panel set up to criminalise “party political films”, an offence under Section 33 of the Films Act.

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See said his film has gone viral online shortly before the ban took effect.

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