Singapore’s elite school Hwa Chong Institute has ordered their students to not comment on the General Elections on social media.
The school denied the new censorship is to silent opposing voices, as younger Singaporeans tend to be more objective and critical against the ruling party government.
Hwa Chong claimed that the social media is “not a suitable” and an “unsafe” platform to discuss politics, but did not explain further what then is the “suitable” platform:
“Our intention is not to silence students’ voices, nor to curb their interest in national issues. Instead, we encourage our students to engage actively in discussions and even debates on national issues, in a safe environment. It is the school’s position that social media is not a suitable platform for students to be discussing their views on national issues, especially during an election period.”
The school said students are not supposed to comment even on their own personal capacity, because “people will quote them out of context”:
“Students’ posts could be screen-captured, taken out of context and circulated further, even if the original posts were published in their private accounts. Such digital footprints could remain even if the posts were removed. Therefore, the advice we have given our students serves to remind them of the importance of exercising care and sensitivity on all social media platforms, even on their own private accounts, given the public nature of social media.”
Singapore schools are pro-government institutions that run propaganda material as exam study syllabus for young Singaporeans in the dictatorship. Students who disobey school rules and heavily criticise the government face termination.