Teen Blogger In Singapore On Trial For Sedition

Teen Blogger In Singapore On Trial For Sedition

9:51pm May 11, 2015

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Next, we turn to the saga of a teenage blogger. Amos Yee is a political activist in Singapore. In March, he posted a video on YouTube celebrating the death of the founding ruler of Singapore.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "AMOS YEE - LEE KUAN YEW IS FINALLY DEAD!")

AMOS YEE: Lee Kuan Yew is dead - finally. Why hasn't anyone said f*** yeah, the guy is dead. Lee Kuan Yew was a horrible person.

MONTAGNE: The video got more than a million views, and Amos Yee got a profile in The New Yorker.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

His words also got a lot of attention in a country where even forgetting to flush a public toilet can result in a fine. Amos Yee did not stop there.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "AMOS YEE - LEE KUAN YEW IS FINALLY DEAD!")

YEE: Everyone is afraid that if they say something like that they might get into trouble, which, give Lee Kuan Yew credit, that was primarily the impact of his legacy. But I'm not afraid, so if Lee Hsian Loong wishes to sue me, I will oblige to dance with him. Come at me, motherf*****.

MONTAGNE: That would be the current prime minister of Singapore that Amos Yee is daring to take action. In the same video, Yee made comments disparaging Jesus Christ. In Singapore, publishing material that could hurt the religious feelings of others is illegal.

INSKEEP: And so that is the basis of one of the charges under which Amos Yee has been arrested. If convicted, he could get three years in prison. Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalists says that with all his bravado, Yee is challenging the very real roadblocks to free speech in Singapore.

BOB DIETZ: People know the rules and know the restrictions in Singapore. Amos did know the rules and really just wanted to go at them full force.

INSKEEP: And now the state is coming after him. A verdict in the case against Amos Yee is expected tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Support your
public radio station