Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Revisiting the Streisand Effect

First, the MDA banned a new book unflattering to the Singapore government, as it promised to be an expose of the allegedly unsavory aspects of the death penalty, in particular the uneven way it is applied (h/t the online citizen).

Then, hardly a few days had passed before Martyn See's new film was banned. Again by the MDA, that paragon of virtue and guardian of Singapore's tender fragile minds. 

You know what this reminds me of? When Royston Tan's film "15" was censored years ago, and he made a satirical film called "Cut" in retaliation and released it online, generating massive publicity. I remember this incident well, because I wrote a post on it waaay back in 2004 on www.newsintercom.org explaining that censoring 15 backfired on the Board of Film Censors as it generated a whole lot more interest in the film than if they had left well enough alone. Let's face it: "artsy" films like 15 play to largely a self-selected audience of intelligentsia that collectively already has a less than sanguine opinion of the establishment. Censoring the film was like tempting fate to unleash the dreaded Streisand Effect.

Martyn See was absolutely right in saying that "I like to thank the Minister for banning this [film]. It generates more interest on the video now." I for one, will be looking to view this video myself for a fresh perspective. Just like I will be interested in reading the book just banned by MDA.

This post is a corollary to what I have stated before, that the mainstream media is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Information wants to be free, and the MDA is fighting a losing battle. 


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