This article explores how defamation jurisprudence in Singapore has elevated the political public figure to an exalted position, virtually according the reputation of these honorable men, or junzi, heightened protection over the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. It takes the position that there are sufficient bases for the Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Ltd. privilege (the Reynolds privilege) to be adopted under Singapore common law, independent of any reliance on art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It further argues that courts in Singapore ought to draw on relevant English and Australian jurisprudence, and consider a broader qualified privilege defense in defamation suits involving political public figures. The author concludes that the common law of qualified privilege in Singapore should be reviewed to take into account a multi-factorial approach when examining whether greater leeway may be accorded to citizen comments on public officials and public policy that are relevant to good government and good governance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 10, 2012
Tan, David, The Reynolds Privilege in a Neo-Confucianist Communitarian Democracy: Reinvigorating
Freedom of Political Communication In Singapore (December 31, 2011). Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, pp. 456-485, December 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2002569