Capital punishment and virtual protest: a case study of Singapore

Y. Ibrahim

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This paper analyses how the online community in Singapore protested against the hanging of a Vietnamese drug trafficker in December 2005. Singapore has upheld capital punishment in the island state despite pressure from local and global civil society organisations and diplomatic channels. This paper traces how the online medium was used by the public to protest against capital punishment in the quasi–authoritarian state. The virtual community protested against the hanging by maintaining a rigorous discursive protest on the Internet. These sustained discourses became enmeshed with those of the offline media in Singapore. This confluence of the online and offline media discourses is important in building a two–tier public sphere in Singapore. The first–tier public sphere is one dominated by the government-controlled media and the ruling party while the second–tier public sphere is a space where civil society organisations and social movements express viewpoints marginalised in the offline society. The confluence of these two tiers has a material significance for the political landscape of Singapore. This paper explores this phenomenon through the case study of online protests against capital punishment in Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFirst Monday
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

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  • Capital punishment, Online protests


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