S'pore blogger charged for racist comments

A local blogger is one of two hauled up for posting seditious remarks on the Internet, making it the first time that charges have been brought against the country's blogger community.

SINGAPORE--A local blogger is one of two men charged under the Sedition Act in the island-state, for alleged racist remarks made against Muslims in his blog.

According to local media reports, the two Singaporean men have been accused of making inflammatory remarks about Muslims. The comments were made in response to a letter--penned by a Muslim writer--that had appeared in a local news daily, which raised concerns about whether pets that are not kept in cages should be allowed in taxis. Most Muslims in Singapore do not touch dogs, particularly the animal's nose and tongue.

The 27-year-old blogger faces three charges under the Act, which deems a person has committed an offence if he performs any act that has a seditious tendency promoting ill-will and hostility between difference races in Singapore, or conspires with any person to do so.

The other man charged had posted anti-Muslim remarks on an online forum, and currently faces two charges under the Act. The statements in question have since been removed.

Local bloggers have expressed shock over the charges, many of whom posted news reports regarding the charges on their own blog sites. One was quoted in a media report to say that the incident conjured up negative publicity for the blogger community in Singapore.

The court hearing for the two cases is scheduled for Sep. 21. If found guilty, the two men will face a fine of up to S$5,000 (US$2982.50), or a jail term of up to three years, or both.