Singapore - Media

Postal, telephone, and telegraph services in Singapore are among the most efficient in Southeast Asia. National and international telecommunications services are administered by the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore. Service is available on a 24-hour basis for worldwide telegraph, telephone, and telex communication. There were 1.95 million mainline telephones in 2000, with an additional 2.74 million cellular phones in use.

Broadcasting services are operated by the government-linked Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, created in 1980; Radio Singapore, inaugurated in 1963, which broadcasts in Chinese, Malay, English, and Tamil; and Television Singapore. As of 1999, there were 13 AM and 4 FM radio stations. In 2000, there were six television stations. In 2000, Singapore had 672 radios and 304 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 483 personal computers in use for every 1,000 people. By 2001, there were 2.12 million Internet subscribers served by about nine service providers.

There are English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil daily newspapers. Foreign publications reporting on Southeast Asian political and social affairs must obtain an annual permit to distribute more than 300 copies of each edition in Singapore. Singapore has 10 daily newspapers, with at least one printed in each of the four official languages. The oldest and most widely circulated daily is the English-language Straits Times, founded in 1845.

In 2002 Singapore's largest newspapers, with their estimated daily circulations, were as follows:


Straits Times Chinese/Malay/English 392,600
Lianhe Zaobao Chinese 205,160
The New Paper English 121,000
Shin Min Daily News Chinese 120,130
Lianhe Wanbao Chinese/English 85,500
Berita Harian Malay/English 60,000
Business Times Chinese/English 36,000
Tamil Murasu Tamil 14,000

The Sunday Times , published in all four of the major language, had a weekly circulation of 387,000 in 2002.

Although freedom of the press is guaranteed by law, the International Press Institute has on various occasions cited Singapore for interference with press freedom. Magazines, motion pictures, and plays are censored for sexual content and presentation of ethnically sensitive matters. In August 1986, parliament passed a bill enabling the government to restrict sales and distribution of foreign publications "engaging in domestic politics." Two months later, the government announced that the distribution of Time magazine would be reduced because the magazine had refused to print the entire text of a letter from a government official. In 1987, similar distribution restrictions were placed on the Asian Wall Street Journal.

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