One of two former editors of the now-defunct sociopolitical blog The Real Singapore (TRS), Ai Takagi, told the court on Monday (Mar 7) that she intends to plead guilty to charges of sedition on Tuesday.
Takagi, 23, and her husband Yang Kaiheng, 27, each face seven charges under the Sedition Act for publishing articles which “promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Singapore”. Yang is still denying the charges and will proceed with the trial, which started on Monday.
The articles in question targeted foreigners from the Philippines, India and China.
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) last year ordered TRS to disable access to the blog and its social media accounts, adding that “the foreign editors were responsible for several articles that sought to incite anti-foreigner sentiments in Singapore”. Takagi is Australian while Yang is Singaporean.
The MDA also said this was an “editorial strategy” to increase traffic to the blog, thus boosting advertising revenue, in an attempt to “seek profit at the expense of Singapore’s public interest and national harmony”.
Takagi and Yang also face an eighth charge under the Penal Code for failing to produce financial statements relating to the blog’s advertising revenue to police investigators.
The couple is represented by lawyer Choo Zhengxi.
If convicted of sedition, both could face up to three years’ jail and a fine of S$5,000.