SDP website problems: Systems error or mischief-making?, Singapore Democrats, 12 Feb 2008

We reported yesterday that visitors to this website were automatically re-directed to an “Insurance” blog. We were unsure as to the cause of the problem and left it open to the possibility of a genuine computer-network anomaly.

However, deliberate mischief-making seems increasingly likely. Yesterday evening the Insurance blog popped up again, only this time the title read “SDP”.

A singular message was posted on the blog with titles that changed every time the blog was accessed such as “Interested in sdp?”, “Here are some my favorite sites about sdp”, and “The collection of sites about sdp”.

Below the title was the message: “Particulary (sic) I like the first site but other sites are informative as well, so if you have interest in sdp you should check all those links. I hope you’ll like them.” This was followed by a few comments.

While we would like to refrain from being alarmist, we are also reminded that PAP MP, Ms Denise Phua, had said in the aftermath of the last elections that the Government would have to “manage the Internet.” Minister Ng Eng Hen was subsequently reported to have sent PAP members to respond to its critics.

There is little doubt that the PAP is trying to ameliorate the overwhelming negative sentiment against it in cyberspace. The question is whether it tries to do this under disguise or in more blatant ways. The answer is probably both.

In this regard, we call on our supporters and friends on the Internet to be extra vigilant and to jealously guard the only space that we have left in Singapore where information and discussion can flow without obfuscation and censorship by PAP gate-keepers.

Previously, the SDP has been held hostage by the mainstream media. We depended on them to disseminate our news. But they have censored our information with a vengeance – and still do. A quick comparison with what is going on in this website with what has been reported in the newspapers and TV tells you the whole story.

Not only that, the newspapers have repeatedly refused to give us the right of reply when they write reports about us that contain half-truths and outright lies.

But with the Internet, the equation has altered. We now use this website not only to provide information about the party and our platforms, but also to build-capacity and organise our activities.

This website is, with few exceptions, updated on a daily basis. We have made use of new technology to make our communication with our fellow Singaporeans more effective and will continue to look to improve on this.

In fact, we are in the process of enhancing the capabilities of this website to further spread our message of democracy and political reform in Singapore. We will announce the changes in the coming weeks.

The one thing that cannot be said about the Singapore Democrats is that we come alive only during election time and hibernate during the interim.

Given all this, however, it would be surprising if we also did not attract attention from mischief-makers in cyberspace, especially those of the autocratic kind.

These encounters, and there have been a few, only proves to us that the SDP is pushing in the right direction and that we need to crank up a notch in our fight for justice and freedom in Singapore. In the meantime, we will monitor the present problem and rectify it.

We therefore ask you, our cyber-supporters, to help us spread the word about this website and to encourage your family and friends to visit us here.

Democracy, onward march!