Two men in Singapore have been charged with sedition and face jail for allegedly making anti-Muslim comments on the Internet.
The incident took place after a woman wrote a letter to the editor of a local paper complaining about dogs traveling in taxis, complaining that the dogs leave behind drool, which she said Muslims are forbidden to touch. The men reportedly posted anti-Muslim remarks in response on a dog-lover Web site and on a personal site.
According to news reports, the Sedition Act prohibits "promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility between races in Singapore." If convicted, the men could be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to three years.
While many bloggers expressed concerns about the chilling effects this could have on speech online, a few said the men deserved their fate.
Blog community response:
"I think it's good that the promotion of racist remarks has been stopped by the police, but I'm rather disappointed that the normally self-policing internet did not manage to do its job before the Singapore authorities jumped in like some kancheong spider."
--little pink soap dinosaur
"It would be myopic to say that this will only affect how people deal with race on their blogs. I think blogs in general will need to exercise more caution. After all, if someone can get charged under the Sedition Act, surely there are some other acts which one can be charged under."
"Keeping racist forum entries and blogs? Foolish. Attracting enough attention to get yourself hauled off to court for it? You tell me."