Singapore Culture

Singapore Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Singapore

Newspaper distribution in Singapore is quite large (298 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 inv., 2000). There are eight newspapers, three of which are in English, three in Chinese and the others in Malay and Tamil, with a combined circulation of about 1.1 million copies. (1996). Seven of the newspapers are owned by Singapore Press Holdings. The biggest are The Straits Times (about 390,000 copies) and the Chinese-speaking Lianhe Zaobao (about 200,000 copies). Freedom of the press is limited; newspapers can be withdrawn and journalists punished without formal trial if national order is jeopardized.

The state-run broadcasting company was privatized in 1994 and replaced by Singapore International Media (SIM), which runs two broadcasters with ten channels and two broadcasters with five channels. Singapore also has some additional private radio stations. There is also a private, US-controlled cable TV company (founded in 1998) that broadcasts Asian business news. There are 672 radio and 304 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, cultural life in Singapore is a blend of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western traditions. Music, theater, art and dance are practiced by a number of cultural groups and professional groups.

A lively film industry has also emerged in recent decades. Since 1987, an annual international film festival has been organized and in the late 1990s, the state decided to prioritize film through scholarships and grants to young filmmakers.

The government exercises some censorship and does not tolerate cultural statements with politically, religiously or ethnically sensitive content. Nudity and other things considered “obscene” are also not accepted.

British author Alan Shadrake was sentenced in 2010 to six weeks in prison and fined for insulting the Singaporean judiciary when in his book “Once a Jolly Hangman – Singapore Justice in the Dock” he criticized the country’s way of using the death penalty. Shadrake claims in the book that the death penalty is not applied impartially.

Singapore Culture

About the author