Singapore's film block a symbolic act

The country's Internet regulators swung into action by getting the anti-Muslim film "Innocence of Muslims" restricted on YouTube. The question remains whether such moves are effective.

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) posted on its Web site two weeks ago the reason behind restricting access to the anti-Muslim film "Innocence of Muslims".

It stated: "The Ministry of Home Affairs has informed us that the YouTube video clip 'Innocence of Muslims' contains material that is contrary to the public interest and incites 'religious hatred, strife or intolerance' and is therefore in breach of Singapore's laws. In response, we have directed Google to restrict access to the video in Singapore ."

The use of Internet Content regulation in the form of the Internet Code of Practice gives legislative teeth to the government's powers. However, this gesture is more symbolic than effective given that Singaporean users with U.S. proxy services as well as accessing other Web sites could view the clip should they choose to.

I am sure there are many who can tell me how they can access the banned clip, though I am not suggesting that one should do so nor publicize how to. But the point remains that Singapore's regulators have made a stand against offensive content with its decision, notwithstanding people's ability to circumvent the restriction.

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