Emergency (Essential Powers) Act
(Chapter 90, Section 2)
Essential (Control of Publications and Safeguarding of Information) Regulations
Rg 14
REVISED EDITION 1990
(25th March 1992)
[8th July 1966]
Citation
1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Essential (Control of Publications and Safeguarding of Information) Regulations.
Definitions
2.  In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires —
“accredited representatives” means persons whose names are included in the list required to be submitted to the competent authority under regulation 5 and includes reporters employed by the person submitting that list;
“competent authority” means any person designated by the Minister under regulation 3;
“disseminate” with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions includes printing, publishing or releasing by any means whatsoever for public information;
“newspaper” means any publication containing news, intelligence, report of occurrences, or any remarks, observations or comments, in relation to such news, intelligence or occurrences, or to any other matter of public interest, printed in any language and published in Singapore for sale or free distribution at regular or irregular intervals, but does not include any publication published by or for any Government department in Singapore;
“protected information” means any information relating to any of the following matters:
(a)the number, description, armament, equipment, disposition, movement or condition of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, the vessels or aircraft of those Forces, or the forces, vessels or aircraft belonging to an allied power;
(b)any operations or projected operations of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force or the vessels or aircraft of those Forces, or the forces, vessels or aircraft belonging to an allied power;
(c)any measures taken for the defence or fortification of any place by the Government or that of an allied power;
(d)the number, description or location of any prisoners of war;
(e)munitions of war; and
(f)any other matters whatsoever which are considered by the Minister to be directly or indirectly prejudicial or detrimental to the defence of Singapore, the preservation of public security or the maintenance of public order.
Power of Minister to designate competent authority
3.  For the purpose of these Regulations, the Minister may designate a person or persons to exercise powers and perform duties under these Regulations and such person or persons shall be known as the competent authority.
Prohibition to disseminate, obtain or make record of or communicate any protected information
4.  No person shall —
(a)obtain or have in his possession;
(b)make records or copies of, or communicate by any means whatsoever to any other person (whether within or without Singapore); or
(c)disseminate in any newspaper or in any manner whatsoever,
any protected information or any documents, records or other materials relating to any protected information, unless the consent of a competent authority has previously been obtained for such or any of the purposes referred to in this regulation.
Power of competent authority to ask for a list of accredited representatives
5.—(1)  Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law to the contrary, the competent authority may require any person, desiring to do any of the acts mentioned in regulation 4, to submit to the competent authority a list of persons (referred to in these Regulations as the accredited representatives) to whom consent under regulation 4 may be given at the discretion of the competent authority:
Provided that at any time thereafter the competent authority may for any sufficient cause withdraw such consent.
(2)  It shall be lawful for the competent authority —
(a)to refuse to give consent under regulation 4 in cases where such list as is referred to in paragraph (1) has not been submitted; or
(b)to give consent only to accredited representatives in cases where such list has been submitted.
Prohibition on communication to newspapers by members of Singapore Armed Forces
6.—(1)  No member of any of the Singapore Armed Forces (referred to in these Regulations as member) shall, except with the prior written consent of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence or as part of his official duty, communicate, divulge or disclose to any newspaper (whether by addressing a letter thereto or by granting an interview to an employee thereof or in any other manner whatsoever) —
(a)any information, opinion, observation or comment on any matter affecting any aspect of the Singapore Armed Forces or concerning any military subject;
(b)any report of any incident or occurrence of a personal or private nature concerning himself or any other member and involving the Singapore Armed Forces;
(c)any matter of whatsoever nature which is likely to cause ill-will or misunderstanding between the Government or the Singapore Armed Forces on the one hand and any member, members or group of members on the other;
(d)any matter of whatsoever nature which disparages, discredits or denigrates or tends to disparage, discredit or denigrate any aspect of service in, or the conditions obtaining in the Singapore Armed Forces, or which is likely to lower morale or be prejudicial to discipline therein; or
(e)any grievance, complaint or other matter affecting his position as a member or that of any other person as a member.
(2)  Any member who contravenes any of the provisions of paragraph (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(3)  Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed as preventing any member from communicating to his Commanding Officer or to the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence any matter (whether referred to in that paragraph or otherwise) which such member considers it expedient so to communicate in his interest or in the general interest of the armed force to which he is attached or of any other Singapore Armed Forces.
Editor, etc., to disclose identity of writer, etc., if so requested
7.—(1)  Where any editor, proprietor, manager or printer of a newspaper or any officer or employee thereof receives from any person any letter or other communication (containing any information, opinion, observation, comment, report, grievance, complaint or any matter of whatsoever nature) which a member is prohibited from communicating, divulging or disclosing to any newspaper under regulation 6(1), and such editor, proprietor, manager, printer, officer or employee desires to publish such letter or other communication, he shall, by such means as he thinks fit, first ascertain or verify the name and identity of that person and his place of residence and if he establishes that such letter or other communication was in fact written by a member, he shall also ascertain the armed force to which he is attached.
(2)  Where such editor, proprietor, manager, printer, officer or employee publishes such letter or other communication or publishes the report of an interview with a member, he shall, if so required by notice in writing under the hand of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, within such time as may be specified therein, disclose —
(a)the name, identity and place of residence of the person who wrote that letter or other communication or of the member who was interviewed; and
(b)the armed force to which the person, if he is ascertained to be a member, or the member who was interviewed, is attached.
(3)  Where any editor, proprietor, manager, printer, officer or employee is unable to ascertain or verify the name, identity and place of residence of the person who wrote such letter or other communication as is mentioned in paragraph (1), he shall inform the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence of that fact and shall not publish that letter or communication without the prior written consent of the Permanent Secretary.
(4)  Any editor, proprietor, manager, or printer of a newspaper or any officer or employee thereof shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $4,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both if he —
(a)refuses, fails or neglects to ascertain or verify the name, identity and place of residence of a member and the armed force to which he is attached as he is required to do under paragraph (1);
(b)refuses, fails to neglects or divulge any information required to be given by the notice referred to in paragraph (2) within such time as may be specified therein; or
(c)publishes a letter or other communication, when he has been unable to ascertain the name, identity and place of residence of the writer thereof, without the prior written consent of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence as required under paragraph (3).
Offences and penalties
8.—(1)  Any person who contravenes regulation 4 shall be guilty of an offence.
(2)  Where any protected information is disseminated in a newspaper in contravention of regulation 4, every proprietor, editor, manager, printer of such newspaper or any person responsible for reporting, publishing or printing that newspaper shall be guilty of an offence.
(3)  Where any protected information is disseminated in a newspaper in contravention of regulation 4, the editor, proprietor, manager, printer or any officer or employee thereof shall, if required by notice in writing under the hand of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, divulge the name and address of the person from whom, or the source from which, he received the protected information within such time as may be specified in the notice.
(4)  Any person required by any such notice to divulge any such name, address or source who refuses, fails or neglects to do so within such time as may be specified therein shall be guilty of an offence.
(5)  Where an offence against these Regulations is committed by a body corporate, every director, manager or any other officer responsible for the commission of the offence shall likewise be guilty of that offence.
(6)  Except as prescribed in regulations 6 and 7, any person committing an offence under these Regulations shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
Consent to prosecute
9.—(1)  A prosecution under these Regulations shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Public Prosecutor:
Provided that a person charged with such an offence may be arrested or a warrant for his arrest may be issued and executed, and any such person may be remanded in custody or on bail notwithstanding that the consent of the Public Prosecutor to the institution of a prosecution for the offence has not been obtained, but the case shall not be further prosecuted until the consent has been obtained.
(2)  When a person is brought before a court under these Regulations before the Public Prosecutor has consented to the prosecution, the charge shall be explained to him but he shall not be called upon to plead and the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to criminal procedure shall be deemed to have been modified accordingly.
Power to compound
10.  A competent authority may compound any offence under these Regulations by accepting from the person reasonably suspected of having committed the offence a sum of money not exceeding $10,000.
Certificate by Minister to be presumptive evidence
11.  In all proceedings under these Regulations a certificate by the Minister that an information is protected shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to be sufficient evidence of the fact.