The editor of alternative news site TheOnlineCitizen (TOC) Terry Xu was arrested in September and has been issued with a travel ban. According to the state media, he was among the 17 arrested for holding a little-known candlelight vigil for a drug mule who was sentenced to death. Ironically, no member of the public attended the event except a team of special anti-riot police officers who seized custody of all their candles.
Along with the 17, Terry Xu now faces a 2 year jail sentence for “illegal gathering” and his website TOC will most likely shut down once he is convicted. According to an interview, Terry Xu said that he is ready to go to jail.
The Singapore Police interrogated the 17 for their “intent” of holding the candlelight vigil, and released them pending official charges. Although a travel ban was not advised, TOC editor Terry Xu was stopped from leaving at the Woodlands Causeway Immigration on Sept 6. The immigration officers told him that he has been issued a travel ban by the Singapore Police.
The travel ban comes as no surprise as the Singapore government is apparently worried about the creation of another States Times Review, an Australian news site set up by former TRS editor Alex Tan. The other two editors of TRS was convicted and sentenced to 8 and 10 months jail for their involvement with an inaccurately-reported story. As an Australia-based website, States Times Review does not have to comply with Singapore’s censorship laws like a S$50,000 bond for creating a website and media censorship on Polling Day, and editor Alex Tan’s “unfiltered” writing style is perfectly legal under Australian laws.
Compared to STR Alex Tan, TOC Terry Xu is considered relatively “obedient” as he often self-censors himself to comply with the government’s censorship demands.