TOKYO – Southeast Asian-based journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall made yet another groundbreaking move in his notable career as a whistleblower and iconoclast this week, courageously fleeing Singapore just before unleashing a withering, critical report on its society and system of governance.
The report, entitled “Singapore Story,” is to be released in four parts, with the first part posted online Wednesday to Marshall’s blog. The 215-page essay includes an executive summary concluding that the Singaporean government’s one-party system is “a sham of democracy, using a polite carapace of manufactured consent to hide a nefarious and self-perpetuating oligarchy that borders on fascism, enforced by judicial fiat rather than the point of a gun.”
Prior to releasing the report, the intrepid journalist moved out of his Singaporean apartment and relocated to Tokyo, which has no extradition treaty with Singapore for non-violent crimes. In his blog, Marshall insisted that the relocation was done to protect his colleagues and friends in Singapore from the fallout of “the witch hunt that will inevitably be launched against me for daring to speak of their naked political emperor.”
In addition to publishing his thousand-page report on the “oppressive and artless city-state” which has “mastered the use of retail comfort as the new capitalist opiate,” Marshall issued a manifesto that called out the “complicit players” in Singapore’s “crimes against truth, and crimes against the discovery of it.”
Named in the manifesto are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and every single member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Singapore, whom Marshall accused of “cowardice in policy and abandonment of journalistic principle” for failing to stand up to the Singaporean government’s practice of suing reporters who criticize their policies.
Taking his crusade online, Marshall has made his presence felt on numerous news and ASEAN-special-interest websites, where he defends his position in forum posts often exceeding 1500 words, detailing the failures of every institution and individual who could have devoted his or her life, career, and influence to “dismantling the six-decade myth of the Singaporean state” but did not.
Already the infallible logic and impeccable integrity of Marshall’s work is having profound effects, as multiple members of the Singaporean-based international press have resigned in shame.
“I spent 22 years writing deep analysis on Singapore’s social policy and its demographic motivators,” said Reese Delfino, a consultant who also wrote commentary for local press publications. “Now I realize that by not abandoning all my work and loudly denouncing the Singaporean one-party system, I was part of the problem. I’m so ashamed.”
Reuters correspondent Henry Foster agreed. “Not once in my 15 years of covering local politics did I publish a scathing expose that resulted in losing my job and being hit with a million-dollar defamation lawsuit,” he said. “Thank god someone in Tokyo has the guts to command me to do so.”
“Andrew Marshall is a hero,” he added.
In light of his work, Marshall is being considered for a CPJ International Press Freedom Award, for what the CPJ committee is calling “innovative and groundbreaking work in the field of protecting one’s own journalistic person, by fleeing from a place before reporting on it.”