A Singapore filmmaker, who made a documentary about an opposition politician that was withdrawn from the city state's film festival this year, said May 10 that he had been asked to come for questionin
SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- A Singapore filmmaker, who made a documentary about an opposition politician that was withdrawn from the city state's film festival this year, said May 10 that he had been asked to come for questioning by police.
Martyn See told Reuters the police asked him to present himself for an interview on May 16 to discuss his film about Chee Soon Juan, leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, one of several small political parties in the city-state.
"I'm worried. I've not even told my mum. How do I tell my mum that I'm under investigation for making a short video that has no sex, no violence, no foul language," See said.
Police spokeswoman Siow Cheng Cheng told Reuters police were investigating the case under the Films Act but declined to elaborate and did not confirm that See had been asked to come in.
The Films Act bars the making and distribution of "party political films", which is punishable with fines and imprisonment.
See withdrew his 26-minute film "Singapore Rebel" from the Singapore International Film Festival in March after the Singapore Board of Film Censors told festival organizers that the film was objectionable under the law.
"I assumed the matter was dropped, so this came as a great surprise to me that they should call me now for the investigation," See said.
Opposition politician Chee told Reuters that the police move to question See was not surprising and that the government's recent calls for more openness were just rhetoric.
"I think it's a cruel joke that the government on the one hand wants people to speak up, and the minute people begin to do things that are not to their liking, they start intimidating, they start harassing, they start threatening," he said.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has loosened some rules on free speech since taking power last year, but few are willing to test so-called "out of bounds" markers on what cannot be publicly discussed -- especially when it comes to politics.
In January, Chee lost a three-year legal battle against defamation charges brought by the city-state's founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and his successor Goh Chok Tong.
Last year, Singapore filmmaker Royston Tan's movie "Cut", a 13-minute satire on state censorship, stirred a storm of criticism in parliament.
Promoters and major cinemas shunned the film, which is about a cinema buff who bursts into a rant about film cuts during a chance encounter with a censorship board official.
Tan's first full-length feature, "15", revolving around drugs and delinquency, won international plaudits in 2003 but was heavily censored at home. A state TV company abruptly shelved plans for a documentary on Tan after he released "Cut."
The government says a high degree of control over public debate and the media is needed to maintain law and order.