SINGAPORE - Apr 22, 2004
Manazine, Singapore's "Men's Lifestyle" bi-monthly magazine launched it's fourth issue last week despite enforced censorship of website URLS from its gay community advertisers.
MDA, the government body which vets all Singapore media, snooped around the websites of well-established gay businesses advertising in Manazine, like Vincent's Lounge (celebrating its 15th anniversary), and found several of them to be "promoting homosexuality".
One business was also forced to amend their website to remove any "gay connotation" before their URL could be printed.
The Singapore Home Affairs Ministry was recently quoted as saying that "the mainstream moral values of Singaporeans are conservative, it is hence contrary to public interest to grant legitimacy to the promotion of homosexual activities and viewpoints."
The statement followed another government decision to deny (again!)freedom of association to People Like Us, a support and advocacy group for gay people, because it believed the group was "likely to be used for unlawful purposes or for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order in Singapore," the ministry said.
Singapore's antique colonial laws view as legal only those sexual activities that lead to penile/vaginal copulation between a men and a woman.
According to Alex Au, cofounder of People Like Us, the government stated in its formal rejection notice that the group must halt all activities, warning that members of unregistered societies face heavy punishment under the law.
Alex Au was awarded a 2002 Utopia Award for his pioneering activism in the gay and lesbian community in Singapore.