Sect hits Singapore media over coverage, advertising ban

Singapore's Falun Buddha Society hit out at local media yesterday, complaining that slanted and incomplete coverage was undermining the group's image.

Society chairman Tian Moon Toon also claimed requests to buy advertising space in leading local papers to try to explain its point of view had been turned down.

Mr Tian said society press releases went unreported, letters to newspaper editors were not published and requests for advertising space in the Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao , both Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) dailies, were denied. Representatives of SPH declined to comment.

The allegations come as Falun Gong adherents are assuming a higher profile in Singapore, becoming more assertive over the mainland crackdown against its followers.

Fifteen Falun Gong members were arrested in Singapore after a protest gathering on Lunar New Year's Eve and face charges of unlawful assembly and obstructing the police.

In the wake of the arrests, government ministers said the Falun Buddha Society, which was registered in 1996, was welcome to operate as long as its members abided by the rule of law.