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新加坡总理诉控独立新闻网站诽谤

发给《公民在线》主编许渊臣的传令副本。源于:网络公民脸书主页。

新加坡总理李显龙起诉独立新闻网站《在线公民》主编许渊臣。因其发表了一篇有关总理兄妹争执的新闻涉嫌诽谤。批评人士指出,这是政府严厉对待报道与当局不同意见的独立媒体与其他团体的又一案例。在新加坡,诽谤是一项最高可判两年徒刑和罚款的罪行。

2019年8月15日,网络公民发表了一篇题为“总理夫人何晴奇怪地分享了与家人断绝关系的文章”,同时在脸书上发文。它注意到了何分享文章以对家庭成员的讽刺。

Although there’s nothing particularly wrong with the article and the points raised by the author, but the irony of Madam Ho sharing the article is what’s interesting and amusing to us. This is because everyone knows that she has a sour relationship with her husband’s family members – particularly her brother-in-law Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and sister-in-law Dr Lee Wei Ling (LWL).

尽管这篇文章和作者提出的观点并没有什么特别之处,但何夫人分享本文的讽刺指出在于这对于我们来说很有意思也很滑稽。这是因为每个人都知道她与丈夫家庭成员的关系不融洽,特别是与弟弟李显扬和妹妹李玮玲。

网络公民引用了LHY和LWL之前的公开声明,他们指责兄长违背了已故的父亲新加坡第一任总理李光耀的意愿。LHY和LWL说,他们在欧思礼路的房屋在父亲去世之后应该被拆除,但他们声称兄长现在想保持房子完好以继承(李光耀的)信誉。总理对此予以否认,并于2017年告诉议会他父亲对如何保护、开发公共财产持开放态度。

9月1日,星期天,总理新闻秘书张俪霖给许渊臣致信,要求其从《网络公民》网站和脸书页面上删除该文章,因为该文章“包含了虚假、无根据的言论,旨在诽谤和污蔑李总理以及总理府。” 信中说,该文章中复述了几项先前由总理妹妹提出的虚假指控。信中还补充到,为何总理要求《网络公民》道歉以及他将对此事采取的法律措施:

PM Lee’s restraint in suing his siblings should not be misinterpreted by others as free licence to repeat and spread false and defamatory allegations against him, as the Article and Post have done. He has to rebut and deal publicly with such scurrilous attacks on his integrity and character, if necessary through legal action. This is especially as such attacks are also directed at his fitness to hold office as Prime Minister and to lead the Government.

李总理对其兄妹提起诉讼的克制不应被他人理解为可以随意重复并散发对他的虚假和诽谤指控,就像《文章和邮报》所做的那样。他必须反驳并公开处理这些低俗的对他人格的攻击,必要时可通过法律途径。尤其是这种针对他的性格是否合适继续担任总理并领导政府的攻击。

《网络公民》用删除文章来回应总理,同时回顾了总理来信的背后含义。但他们又恢复了文章,并宣称这不是诽谤,是“公平评论”。许渊臣给总理回信解释了自己的立场,澄清了文中的一些观点,并重申了《网络公民》承诺以事实向权力的宗旨。

Although I do fear that the cost stemming from the possible legal suit from you may be hefty, that is a price that I am willing to pay to not only uphold my principles, but also to uphold my obligations to Singapore and my fellow Singaporeans.

尽管我的确担心应对由您提出的诉讼可能费用很高,但这是我愿意付出的代价,不仅要维护我的原则,而且还要履行我对新加坡和新加坡同胞的义务。

9月5日,总理的律师向许送达了传票。许渊臣有八天时间来回应诽谤指控。

一些活动人士说,这是对在线批评者的“打击”。新闻记者和激进主义者Kirsten Han回应了许多评论者的问题,即总理决定逮捕那些在重复其兄妹言论的人:

If the comments are so harmful to his reputation, why is he not suing his siblings and allowing their comments to remain up online? If those comments can remain publicly available, why is it that repeating them will attract a lawsuit claiming that one has harmed his reputation?

如果这些评论对他的声誉如此有害,为何他还不起诉他的兄妹还允许他们的言论继续保留在网络上?如果这些评论可以公开,为何复述这些评论还会引起诉讼,声称有人损害了他的声誉?

电影制片人Lynn Lee质疑在此案件中的使用总理办公室的合法性:

As a private citizen, Lee Hsien Loong can of course choose who he wants to sue. But as PM of Singapore, he shouldn’t have one standard for his family and another for the rest of us. And if LHL is acting in his personal capacity, he shouldn’t be using PMO resources. All this mixing of private and public is deeply disturbing.

作为一个公民,李显龙当然可以选择他要起诉的人。但是作为新加坡总理,他不能对家人使用一个标准和对待民众使用另外一个标准。如果李显龙是以个人身份行事,那他不应该使用总理府的资源。公私不分会让民众深感不安。

这已不是许渊臣和《网络公民》第一次因报道政府而面临法律问题。2018年12月,他们发布了一封指控最高官员贪污腐败的信后被指控犯有刑事诽谤罪。总理还曾起诉过那些针对他作出“诽谤性”评论或分享损害他声誉的脸书文章的博客作者

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