Strait-laced Singapore has slashed the number of publications it bans to 17 from a previous 257, allowing some communist and adult topics, but kept a prohibition on Jehovah’s Witnesses publications, Reuters reported on Wednesday (25 Nov 2015).
Newly permitted books include “Fanny Hill”, a British novel published in 1748 said to be the first erotic novel in English, and “The Long March,” a Chinese communist history.
A number of the de-gazetted publications were out of print or were permissible under today’s content standards, the Media Development Authority said in an emailed statement explaining the changes.
Adult magazines such as “Playboy”, “Penthouse” and “Hustler” remain banned, as are publications by the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church produced by its Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and the International Bible Students Association.
The church’s publications sit in the banned list alongside “hardcore pornographic publications” that “depict female models in sexually suggestive poses and their genitals,” the government agency said.
Singapore deregistered the Jehovah’s Witnesses and banned its publications in 1972 because the church objects to serving National Service in the military or singing national anthems.