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Censorship and Mass Media

In 2006, mrbrown was suspended from TODAY newspaper after his article ‘Singaporeans are fed, up with progress!’ (http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2006/07/today_sporeans_.html) was published in July. Three days after this article appeared, a letter from K Bhavani, Press Secretary to MICA, was also published (http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2006/07/letter_from_mic.html).

A hot debate about censorship in the media soon followed after mrbrown’s suspension and the subsequent resignations of Mr Miyagi, a fellow blogger and TODAY columnist, as well as the editors of TODAY by the end of 2006. 

Today, mrbrown is still continuing with his podcasts and blog, www.mrbrown.com , on which he still expresses his opinions about events in Singapore.

In the 2006 National Day Rally, PM Lee also made references to this issue: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/nationalday/rally/english6.htm (Section 9e).

Practice the AQ!

To what extent should the “mainstream mass media” (as quoted from PM Lee’s speech be subject to censorship? Your answer should make reference to the passages and your own knowledge and examples.

*NB: It is important to understand the context of the situation above as well as the issues raised by the situation, before you attempt this question.


( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
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22nd Aug, 2007 12:29 (UTC)
the mainstream mass media must be subjected to censorship to a certain extent, but as to what extent that would be,it has to be decided based on various factorts.firstly, censorship must be done to an extent where the false accusations, wrong ideas spread to the public and negative connotations about the government are "deleted".i feel that although this takes away press freedom and the dream of being an "open" country, we singaporeans are not ready yet for such openess in the mainstream mass media.this is because, our country is very small in population demographics as well as in political demographics, so as to say.we cannot afford not to censor false accusations and negative feelings in the mass media, unlike large nations such as the USA. this is because, in singapore we mainly only have the PAP which has been in power ,and thus experience, in ruling the couyntry for the past many decades.unlike USA which has two powerhouse parties, the democrats and the republicans, both of which have experience in ruling the nation several times, singapore has none.if the government, consisting almost entirely of the PAP is to be criticised, which party is going to rule Singapore? the W.P? i doubt so.hence,censorship is essential in the mass media looking at it from the singapore context.however, censorship must not be used wrongly to cover up corruption ,or any other perinent issues that require the attention of the people of singapore. hence i feel that censorship must be carried out on a large extent in singapore, as other problems such as racial and religious tension might arise if people with extremist views are allowed to post or broadcast articles with the aid of the mass media.
29th Aug, 2007 15:58 (UTC)
to what extent should the mainstream mass media be censored?
Personally, I feel that the extend of the mainstream media is to be censored depends on the situtaion and the people involved as well as the effects of the news.
Taking Mr Brown's case for example, like what PM Lee said " he expressed his views but he attacked the government and thus it is right for the government to respond to it." Let's just say if the government did not respond to it, do you think in time to come, there would not be a significiant increase in the number of people like Mr Brown, who express their views and attack the government? I do not know about you, but I am sure there would be. So it is thus rational for the govenment to take action to it and let Mr Brown's case be and example or a form of warning to those out there who pose comments about sensitive issues like racial issues.
I feel that the government should step in and censor news that would affect the people's emotions. Taking the chance of risking the peace and stability of the country is not advisable thus for that i think it is right for the government to step in censor such things.
However, the government should not censor informations concerning the world issues even if it concerns our country or to the extend where our country is put in the bad light. The decision on whether we should believe or not should be left to the choice of the individual and not decided by the government. If the people are not given a choice the country would soon turn into a nanny state.
2nd Sep, 2007 12:50 (UTC)
Personally i feel that the word freedom is jsut for show. If you say there is freedom of speech then why such a big issue? What Mr. Brown has written is definately bitter and has struck the government in some way or the other but before sueing him, think about it, has he written anything wrong? No, because its the truth. I do not think what he write was wrong cause that is what is haooening right now, he merely just put the govt's actions into words, then why should it provoke them to have suspend him. If you say there is freedom of speech then why be a hypocrate and take actions for everything that has been said or written or published?
I think that the main stream mass media should not practice censorship cause that just means that you are hiding facts from the public, and the public has every right to know what is happening to them and the money that they spend. Censorship is a sensitive topic as it concerns everyone's emotions attached to it.
Censorship is just a contradiction to freedom of speech, that is in my opinion. No matter what i think we as the public should have access to every information that concern's us. But there is always an excaption, for example the making of weapons in our country, we are not interested in that so even if we are not informed about the progress of it, i think we will do just fine, to this extent i think censorship is fine.

"It would have been too taxing on the brain if those price increases were announced during the election period, thereby affecting our ability to choose wisely." as quoted from mr. brown's blog, i feel that they are trying to trick us. at first they try and portray something completly different but later on after gaining power its some other story.
i think everyone has the right to know what happens to them, their surroundings, where their money goes, what the govt intends to d, so on and so forth.
(hope i don't get sued for writing like this, does the govt. look into blogs?lolx)
6th Sep, 2007 04:02 (UTC)
Re: censorship
I suppose thats usually the case during the election period where they make things sound very nice and the moment they win the elections they would tend to increase prices while still somewhat sugarcoating it to make the increase in prices sound much more pleasant than they actually are. However im sure many people can actually see through them by now.
Re: censorship - cherminlam - 14th Sep, 2007 14:52 (UTC) - Expand
2nd Sep, 2007 13:35 (UTC)
thou art ignorant against the power wielded by media
"The people will believe what the media tells them they believe."
- George Orwell

Everyone's always thinking about freedom of speech, openness, tranparency and etc. But freedom always come at the expense of something else. Since most of the public response tend to tilt towards wanting more freedom and less censorship in publishment of media, i'll highlight the importantance of censorship.

Of course i agree that we should be given the ability to voice our disgrunts and discontent against government policies, however with that ability, could we be stirring up a major anti-government feeling? With such opposition, can the government effectively improve our country? If riots and demonstrations were to be mundane, will we be reminiscing the days when we enjoyed safety and peace on the street?

We are probably taking for granted what the government has done and what it is trying to do. Such rapid progression, econmony boom and comforting infrastructure etc, without heavy taxes we might still be living in a third world country. We must admit that we would not be where we are without the government. Its our human nature to linger within its comfort zone and avoid progress at the expense of hardwork. But if we were not to progress globally and lag behind, our comfort zone might be history. Our government is making progress at such a pace that our citizens feels the pain in thier pockets.

In my view, it would be technically impossible to achieve a balanced policy of freedom vs control. Censorship is a method the government maintain thier control and support. Without it there will be no government, little of it will lead to weak government. This is an extent quetion that i can not take a stand at any extreme end. Thus my post only focus on importantance of censorship. (of course, im just like any other person who would like to pay less and enjoy more :)
2nd Sep, 2007 14:31 (UTC)
Re: mainstream mass media is censored? Come on, it's practically covered.
If there was freedom, would there be a need for control?
Regarding MrBrown - jasonshiyongjie - 6th Sep, 2007 03:13 (UTC) - Expand
Re: Regarding MrBrown - kimberly25sg - 7th Sep, 2007 16:20 (UTC) - Expand
2nd Sep, 2007 14:19 (UTC)
Re: mainstream mass media is censored? Come on, it's practically covered.
To what extent should mainstream media be censored? In the Singapore context, anything that shows a bit of gore, flesh, violence or goes a little wee bit against the Popular Activists Population (ahem) is well in the catagory to be censored. Well in MY book, censorship should be reserved for films that will affect young minds drastically in the adverse manner. Let me clarify this; films that will change kids into homicidal maniacs bent on world domination and ruthless torture of the rest of human kind. Sounds farmiliar? Go look at them cartoons. Cruella DeVil, Mojo Jojo, you name it. So if such uh... virtues, are being left alone for kids of ages 2 to whatever, what on earth do you mean about censorship?

Brokeback Mountain was censored, what, M-18? Or was it R 21? What about RENT, Saving Private Ryan and the likes? Give me a break. Just because a leg got blown off in ONE scene, SPR got a rating of what, M18? It show's what goes on in the REAL world. NOT the make belief you-be-kind-and-i'll-be-kind world that Disney and the like are trying to force into children's brain.

Face it, soon the kids would be old enough to watch these shows. You think they'll go: Oh I know this is bad and I'm glad I didn't see it when I was a child. NO. They'll most probably go : Oh My *** I wish I knew how HORRID this world is. WHY DIDN"T ANYONE TELL ME???? (Like how the Japanese reacted when they found out about their part in WW2 outside their motherland)

Back to Sinagpore. Censorship is very much OVERRATED here. Look at the ratings: PG, PG-13, NC-16, NC-17, M18, R21. Man one year makes SO MUCH difference does it?

Alright, let's stop the rant on movie censorship. Now, the PAPER! In the letter from K Bhavani, Press Secretary to MICA, she said that "mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards."

Standards... what standards? Hiding the truth, the "absoulute and unvarnished truth" as quoted from Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, is that higher standards? Its a well known fact and he is just putting it down on paper, now is that not what a paper should be doing? Airing what the People, whom the paper is for, feel? Nope not so. In our uh, democratic society, it is taboo to say anything bad of the government or the way they run the paper, oops I mean the people. We must always be politically correct. In laymen's terms: Nothing bad about Big Brother or else.

Such censorship is rampant in our uh... democratic society. I would rebut it. Freedom of speech is censored (you need a permit to speak at the speaker's corner), freedom to discuss anything about the government on forums? Don't you think we should tone it down a bit?
2nd Sep, 2007 14:58 (UTC)
Re: mainstream mass media is censored? Come on, it's practically covered.
Something interesting for you to think about: the media (like SPH, CNA) doesn't seem to censor the gore from news reports, but apparently if it's fiction, there's a need to prevent ready access. Apparently, free and low-cost news reports shown at primetime slots and sold at every paper kiosk are less accessible than a $9.50 movie.

You may wish to read http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2007/yax-766.htm and consider the issues that it brings up about Singapore's media.
2nd Sep, 2007 16:53 (UTC)
it all goes back to singaporeans..
Well, referring to PM Lee’s speech about censoring the mainstream mass media would be largely correct. Like what he said, every individual is entitled to his or her own opinions. However, when it has gone overboard and widespread, it should be taken into consideration and the government should intervene. If actions are not taken and such negative views are openly expressed, it may affect Singapore’s outlook and the impression that the citizens of Singapore are basically rebellious.

On the other hand, I agree with someone who have replied to the thread saying that even after all that have been said, everything will just subside and prices will just rise without any halts or hesitations. It is almost a routine that such things are occurring, in fact, Singaporeans have to take this in their stride and learn to refrain from complaining. The rise in prices in something inevitable and it may even benefit the citizens in the long run. Hmm, talking about economics…

I feel that one should also approach the topic with an open and matured mind. If it is taken too seriously, it may cause unwanted effects like the suspension of Mr. Brown and the subsequent resignations of Mr Miyagi, a fellow blogger and TODAY columnist, as well as the editors of TODAY by the end of 2006. Those who agree with the views of Mr. Brown tend to get overly-excited that there is someone out there who is brave enough to express his personal views and therefore creates an unnecessary HOO-HAA over the issue. This therefore causes the government or the higher authorities to take over and intervene and this in turn, causes the decision to subject the mainstream mass media to censorship.
2nd Sep, 2007 16:55 (UTC)
Re: it all goes back to singaporeans..
OOPs! i forgot to indicate that the earlier comment made is by me.
(Deleted comment)
9th Sep, 2007 16:32 (UTC)
should mass media be subject to censorship?
I agree with Ms lim that mainstream media should be objected to censorship to a certain extent. Such as what ms lim has said that if Mr Brown has stirred Singaporean’s sense of belonging toward the government and causes them to be anti-government. Riots may occurred and anti-government organization may started to form as a result chaos would happen to Singapore isn’t it? Hence, censorship should come in to protect the interest of the majorities. If not, it will pose a threat to our society’s security and indirectly harm to the citizens.

However as what Ms Lim has said we would still need to enjoy a certain freedom of speech. By having freedom of speech we could expresses our own personal opinion towards the government. In my opinion, it does serve a great purpose by having freedom of speech as it allows us to voice out our unhappiness towards the government. So the government could further work on it to improve the situation. Hence, everyone should have a chance to expresses their views and opinions. As they have a part to improve the country as one united family? Only through complains and ideas we could further improve our society. And to add on for a country to improve we need to work as ONE as Singapore does not only belong to the government. It belong to us too!!(opps.. do I need to censor??)

6th Sep, 2007 03:56 (UTC)
I feel that what mr brown has done isn't exactly wrong as what he states is true, he is just stating things in a different way to bring across awareness to Singaporeans about the reality of the situation in Singapore though he tells it in a rather sarcastic and humorous point of view.

However, the government seems to have taken this as a direct attack on them and has thus suspended him. This doesn't exactly stop Mr brown from continuing to type in his blog though. I believe that theres different types of censorship depending on the situation and the government seems to be making sure that such articles wont be written anymore. Mr brown's suspension seems to be too drastic of an action for the government to take and by doing so only emphasizes the truth of Mr brown's words.
7th Sep, 2007 15:46 (UTC)
how its ALL affecting us
It is already a known fact that the Singapore government is pretty much "the controller" of what we hear, read and see in the main stream media today (e.g. radio, television, newspapers etc.)

With this fact in mind, have we ever questioned the facts the media delivers, whether it has been filtered of all the juicy details that we long to get but never will because it “Isn't good for us” or “we're not ready to handle the truth”?

So, to what extent should the “mainstream media” (as quoted from PM Lee’s speech) be subject to censorship?

This certainly is a touchy topic, especially in Singapore.

To be honest, I think that the government has done a fairly good job in keeping Singapore stable through the media by filtering any “unwanted publicity” or “explicit content” from the mainstream media (MSM) over the years. However, times are changing and the government (represented by PM Lee currently) has realised the issue of being too stringent on censorship in the MSM.

On November 11 2006, PAP MP Baey Yam Keng, in his first speech in Parliament that week , urged the government to amend Singapore's media legislation so as to promote greater media freedom in the mainstream media.

Here is an extract of the article:
Link: http://singaporepatriot.blogspot.com/2006/11/pap-mp-calls-for-less-restrictions-on.html
“In his speech, Baey noted that new media’s impact on the young has been "massive". He pointed out that the government should not hold itself responsible for what the people see or read, otherwise Singaporeans may lose the ability to think, evaluate and judge for themselves. In observing the vastly different viewpoints put out by the MSM and new media, Baey wondered if they were from two different populations talking about two different countries. He went on to state that he did not think that the reality is "mostly positive" as portrayed in the traditional media nor is it as negative as what the new media describes it.

In contrast to what the Second Minister for Information recently said, he called on the government to relax regulations on traditional media to allow people to vent grouses and frustrations, without always demanding for constructive suggestions. He said this would enable Singaporeans to then engage openly in meaningful, level-headed discussions without fear of prosecution.”

I agree with the points he has raised. Firstly, that Singaporeans might not have a mind of their own and might not have their own perspective of anything. Secondly, he feels that Singaporeans should be given a chance to voice out their views on issues, knowing that they won't be shot down for their opinions.

However, look at it this way, imagine that the Singapore government is the “Father” and that Singapore is the “Son”. If you were the father, would you let your young son be exposed to the world of never ending problems, violence, immorality, explicit language and what ever the world can throw at us? Then, the story goes on as the son grows older and seems more mature to handle and tackle the problems of society, where he can UNDERSTAND and QUESTION on his own and figure out what is right and what is wrong. At this point of time, you'd probably think that the son would be ready for this world. Uncensored, uncut. I think this is what the Singapore government is doing, which I feel makes a lot of sense, by letting us Singaporeans have more freedom in speech but not entirely but bit by bit.

With regards to the question, I feel that Singapore should be adopting this “bit by bit” strategy and then unreasonable censorships (e.g Russel Peters show that was supposed to be in Singapore in October last year) would eventually not occur anymore. I guess we should stick to the “Goverment knows best” and we'll all sail smoothly haha.

Oh and I just saw this statement on Wiki:
“K Bhavani, spokesperson of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, has stated:
In relaxing our censorship policies, the Government needs to take into account the concerns and values of the majority of Singaporeans. Our people are still largely conservative. Hence, the Government needs to balance between providing greater space for free expression and the values upheld by the majority.”

Probing another question: are we really “LARGELY” conservative?
7th Sep, 2007 17:35 (UTC)
mainstream media
Mainstream media refers to broadcast, print and the internet which can disseminate information in real time.
An example of media censorship occurred this week when a national service man walked out of his camp with his gun and live ammunitions. The news of his disappearance was treated as blackout because the police and MINDEF felt it was sensitive. The decision was ironic because netizens were discussing the issue hours before the actually release of the news.
In this situation the need not to announce the disappearance of the missing national service man was valid as there was a need to locate him without raising alarm. However it may not be right to censor the media when information is available in real time via the internet?
During the attempted bombing of the Yishun MRT station a few years ago news was censored in the name of public safety and this was justified. On the other hand would a personal comment in a newspaper merit censorship too?
For example in his column in Today, dated 30 June 2006, headlined, "Singaporeans are fed, up with progress!" Mr Brown commented on how household income is rising in Singapore. He highlighted that “the bottom third of our country is actually seeing their incomes (or as one newspaper called it, "wages") shrink, but the rest of us purportedly are making more money.”
He talked about the “cost of watching World Cup is up. Price of electricity is up. Comfort's taxi fares are going up or "being revised".
Just before Mr Brown’s column, the Newsweek magazine carried an article on how Singaporean wages had shrunk for the bottom third of Singapore. The article stated that on first glance it looked like there was an increase in wages but the real purchasing power had decreased giving rise to an increasing income gap within society.
Three days after Mr Brown’s commentary Today published a letter from K Bhavani, Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts. Ms Bhavani pointed out that Mr Brown a parent of an autistic child “poured sarcasm on many issues, including the recent General Household Survey, price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares, our IT plans, the Progress Package and means testing for special school fees.
Was there a need for Ms Bhavani to reiterate and explain the General Household Survey because Singaporeans are educated and can discern for themselves if Mr Brown was right or wrong.
Mr Bhavani elaborated that “Mr brown must also know that price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares are the inevitable result of higher oil prices, and explained that “These were precisely the reasons for the Progress Package — to help lower income Singaporeans cope with higher costs of living.”
In her conclusion, Ms Bhavani stresses that “Mr Brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe Mr Brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly. It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.” If as Ms Bhavani says one is entitled to one’s opinion then why was there a need to take Mr Brown on point by point. Opinions in Singapore over this commentary were varied. It gave rise to a healthy discussion on the net over the fate of Mr Brown.
In my opinion the media is Singapore should be moderated only in there interest of public, only if there is an urgent need to hold back information because the release of the information may cause further strive. I do not believe that we need to censor commentaries after all Sinaporeans are pushing the boundaries and making great strides in becoming citizens of the world and we should not hold back information as it may be seen as a deliberate attempt to conceal information which will reflect negatively on our principals of transparency.

7th Sep, 2007 17:43 (UTC)
Re: mainstream media
"However it may not be right to censor the media when information is available in real time via the internet?"

Perhaps this should be "it may not be necessary", rather than a case of "right" or "wrong" :)

Some language corrections:
It's "strife" not "strive" and "principles" not "principals". They all mean very different things :)
8th Sep, 2007 12:20 (UTC)
Singapore is moving towards in becoming a high –tech city. Thus information in alternative forms such as newspaper and internet will increasingly have a larger impact on the society. Thus censorship is implemented as a result of the government’s fear of losing control over information – and its dissemination and “distortion.
With regards to Mr brown’s article, it is written in a seemingly light-hearted way with many sarcastic comments on some of the government policies. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with Mr Brown voicing out his views as our PM Lee said in his National Day rally speech: “In fact, if we agree all the time, something must be wrong with us.” However, he should have done it in a more objective and professional way.

8th Sep, 2007 14:53 (UTC)
What do you mean by "objective and professional"?
8th Sep, 2007 14:06 (UTC)
Putting ouselves in the shoes of the government
With regards to the recent increase in GST,obviously everyone will be unhappy one way or another because it concerns money.People naturally will feel the pinch when before the GST increase,for instance with 2.50,one could get a plate of chicken rice however following the GST increase 2.50 may not get u one,it may be 3.00.Its not just Mr Brown who has grievances over the issue of GST increase.Its humans tendency to feel unhappy about somethiing and voice out.That is why we have feedback forms and forums in newspapers for people to voice out their grievances and all that.What Mr Brown has written on his blog are all facts and it is the common promblem for all of us here.Its not just Mr Brown,as i took a walk round my neighbourhiood,i hear old folks complaining about and grumling about the GST increase or rather `revised GST`.We have to look at Mr Brown`s case with maturity and weigh the situations well.For instance if we were to put ourselves in the shoes of the government,what Mr Brown has done is that it may create some kind of anti government feelings in Singapore which the giovernment feels that something must be done to put a stop to that.Imagine if the government did nothing about it,then everyday there will be people posting blogs against the government about other issues,then when will we ever have peace right?cos Singapore is a small multi-racial society,the government will have to step in should people out there try to stir up the peace of Singaporeans.perhaps Mr Brown could have done it in a better more matured way instead of a childish sarcasm kind of thing.Perhaps he could have written into the Straits times forum and watch and change the way he says about things.So we really have to think of why the government will take immediate actions about such issues especially issues about defamation and so on,even criticism,Mr Brown is quite lucky not to have sued up to cout or even jailed.luckily his case is something quite minor.
8th Sep, 2007 14:54 (UTC)
Re: Putting ouselves in the shoes of the government
Well the problem with writing in to the ST Forum is that the letters go through an editor before they get published. Besides, mrbrown himself already has a column - why would he need to write a letter to the forum?
8th Sep, 2007 14:16 (UTC)
I feel that it is wiser to think before one talks because of the consequences that one may face after that in respose to his earlier actions.Mr Brown should be wiser like Jack Neo who produces movies like just follow law and I not stupid which is true and is happening in Singapore,at the same time not pinpoiting anyone,its both hilarious and true i would say,or perhaps he should be like Hossan Leong who came out with the WE LIVE IN SINGAPURA,its both hilarious and educational and relevant to Singapore with less sarcastic kind of tone.
8th Sep, 2007 14:56 (UTC)
Re: WE LIVE IN SINGAPURA by Hossen Leong
Why would you say these shows/songs are less sarcastic? Do they critique our local issues any less? Or is satire via artistic work more acceptable than sarcasm via print media?

p.s. Go find out the difference between satire and sarcasm ;)
8th Sep, 2007 15:07 (UTC)
Mass media has already been part of our life. People feel it is best and convenient to get certain information from the media regardless from the Internet, television or etc without considering its credibility. I guess it should be censored to a certain extent considering some other factors. Censorship should be implemented to a certain extent firstly because terrorist groups are using the Internet to recruit, spread and influence people to support them. They also use Internet to update people regarding their target. Not only that, some people use media to provide extreme views regarding the government decision or certain race and as a result, the readers may get influence by such views. This may divide the society and disturb the political stability. People are unaware of the main objectives of the mass media and use it inappropriately, which causes such problems.

However, to say that censorship should be implemented fully to the mainstream mass media is to deny the fact that from mass media it can help attract business companies, create an online shop with authorize permission and also get in touch with their loved ones. Many MNCs use blogs for their corporate communications and good accessibility to such medium may serve as a way to encourage them to set up business here.

People must know the objectives behind mass media before doing things that may affect the prosperity of the country or affect certain group of people. Understand the law of cyberspace and do the right things. If everyone oblige to this rule, it would be easier for the government to come out with the right decision.

9th Sep, 2007 03:16 (UTC)
Satire vs sarcasm
A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit is the meaning of satire.it is a kind of literary device classified as a form of irony wheras witty language used to convey insults or scorn is the meaning of sarcasm.it is about the same meaning just that satire is a way used to convey sarcasm right Ms Chew?Becos satire in itself is a literary tool.
9th Sep, 2007 10:35 (UTC)
Re: Satire vs sarcasm
Yes, you're right :) So you can now think about whether the writers and webpages you've mentioned constitute satire or not ;)
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