Singapore-based website The Online Citizen goes on ‘hiatus’ after government raid

The Online Citizen which claims to be Singapore’s “longest-running independent online media platform” has found itself in the thick of an investigation around defamation.

Terry Xu, its founder and editor was called in for questioning by the police in relation to a controversial post which alleged “corruption at the highest echelons”. The post has since been taken down from the site.

According to a post on the The Online Citizen’s Facebook page, the site will be on a “hiatus” as  “all the electronic equipment used for the purpose of the website have been seized by the Singapore Police Force for an investigation into an alleged offence of Criminal Defamation under Section 21 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 68.

“The equipment, which include desktop, mobile devices and laptops, was seized at the residence of Terry Xu in the presence of five police officers. No confirmed date of return has been given as investigation will take some time to conclude.”

The action against Xu comes against the backdrop of the Singapore government taking a hardline stand against “fake news”.

A week ago, the government blocked access to the States Times Review – a blog on Singapore politics with a pronounced anti-government stance. Its Australia-based founder Alex Tan subsequently announced he was retiring from the media scene and shutting down the blog’s Facebook page.


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