Social Media Sites Block Controversial Rap Video of Indian Origin Duo in Singapore
Social media giant Facebook and other online platforms on Friday blocked access to a rap video of Indian origin comedian and YouTube star about race in Singapore, which was under police investigation.
The rap video was released against an advertisement in which the skin of a Chinese-origin actor is darkened to make him appear Indian.
The ad, which was funded by the Singapore government, drew fierce criticism. Singapore is a country where race is highly sensitive and has an ethnic Chinese majority. It is also abode to Muslim and ethnic Indian minorities, as well as many foreigners.
In the video, comedian Preeti Nair alongside her brother Subhas delivers an expletive-filled rap that appears to target the Chinese majority, while standing in front of the advert.
Subsequently, police launched an investigation into the “offensive” video. Singapore is well-known for owning strict laws against placing divisions between races.
On some video sites, the video was taken down with a message appearing that said local laws prohibited the site from showing it.
Likewise, the video was blocked on YouTube alongside a message that it was not available due to a complaint from the government. Twitter also blocked posts related to the footage.
In a statement, Facebook said it removes content which violates its own “community standards” when it becomes aware of it.
“There are also times when we may have to restrict access to content because it violates a law in a particular country, even though it doesn’t violate our community standards,” it added.
The media regulator, Infocomm Media Development Authority was quoted by Yahoo News saying that the video had been shared on social media, and it had “issued notices to the individuals and internet platforms for their cooperation to remove the videos.”
The city-state is frequently criticized for restricting free speech and other civil liberties.
Shanmugam, the law and home affairs minister, has however described the rap video as an attack on another race that is “not acceptable”.
As a consequence of backlash, the state-owned broadcaster apologized and the ad disappeared from a website and some public places.