‘Flaming’ bloggers punished

FREE speech may be the buzzword on the Internet – but libel is unacceptable everywhere. 

The message has been sent out loud and clear, with five junior college students being punished for posting offensive remarks about two teachers and a vice-principal online. 

The students, all girls, were made to remove the remarks from their blogs and suspended for three days last month. Their parents were also informed. 

The case is not an isolated one. Of the 31 secondary schools and junior colleges contacted, 18 said they were seeing more of such incidents as the number of bloggers surges. 

Seven secondary schools and two JCs have asked bloggers who criticise or insult their teachers online – ‘flaming’ in Internet jargon – to remove the offending remarks. 

One such remark referred to a secondary school teacher as a prude for disciplining a student for wearing a too-short skirt.  

“Frustrated old spinster. Can’t stand to see attractive girls,'' the blog read. 

If teachers wish to prosecute, they may have legal grounds to do so. 

Singapore Teachers Union general secretary Swithun Lowe said the union was ready to back any teacher who wanted to take legal action.  

It has offered legal help to a few members, but they did not want to affect the prospects of their young students. 

Lawyers say students can be sued for defamation, even if a teacher is not named.  

“As long as someone is able to identify the teacher, and it is an untrue statement that affects his reputation or livelihood, then the student is liable,” said Doris Chia of Harry Elias and Partners. 

But none of the schools contacted has banned blogging. Rather, many English and General Paper teachers encourage it to improve students’ language and writing skills. 

Schools also said they did not police blogs. They say they only check them after complaints are made.  

The recent cases of two young men and a teen charged with making seditious and inflammatory remarks about Muslims on the Net have led to teachers discussing the dos and don’ts of blogging with students.  

It is not known exactly how many student bloggers there are, but after a recent school blogging competition, the Media Development Authority called the practice a “raging phenomenon among the youth.” – The Straits Times/ ANN  

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Regional

Cricket-Indian board goes into bat for Olympic inclusion
Cops foil attempt to smuggle people out of Malaysia through Pontian
Covid-19: Cases up by 2,195, bringing total to 375,054 (updated daily)
Kelantan records highest infectivity rate in Malaysia
Covid-19: 2,195 new cases bring total to 375,054
Myanmar unity government says it must be part of any ASEAN bid to end crisis
'Dire need of beds, oxygen': India's capital under siege from COVID-19
South Korea, U.S. show differences over Japan's Fukushima plans
Over 70% of employers fail to comply with minimum housing standards, says Deputy HR Minister
'I'm not Chinese' T-shirts fuel racial hatred

Stories You'll Enjoy