April 2, 2019 / 4:45 AM / 18 days ago

Singapore minister puts Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande on 'offensive' playlist

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - American pop stars Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande are on an “offensive lyrics” list presented to members of parliament in socially-conservative Singapore as part of a statement by the city-state’s home minister on hate speech.

FILE PHOTO - 91st Academy Awards - Oscars Arrivals - Red Carpet - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 24, 2019. Lady Gaga. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Monday’s statement came nearly a month after Swedish black metal group Watain’s concert was banned in Singapore on concerns about its history of “denigrating religions and promoting violence”.

Singapore keeps a tight rein on public speech and the media, especially when it comes to race and religion.

A photo of the ministerial statement on “restricting hate speech” was posted on Facebook by opposition MP Chen Show Mao on Monday with the caption “lesson of the day”. The post had been shared more than 1,000 times and received hundreds of comments by Tuesday afternoon.

The list cited Lady’s Gaga’s ‘Judas’ and Ariana Grande’s ‘God is a woman’, alongside songs ‘Heresy’ by Nine Inch Nails and ‘Take me to the Church’ by Hozier.

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande have both held concerts in Singapore.

K. Shanmugam, Singapore’s home affairs minister, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that he gave the list as an illustration of things people may find offensive.

“Doesn’t mean that it can all get banned, just because some people find it offensive,” Shanmugam, who is also the law minister, posted.

In his speech on Monday, the minister had said the government’s approach had to be guided by common sense. He added either banning everything that is deemed insulting or offensive by anyone, or allowing everything that is insulting or offensive, was not doable.

The statement came on a day Singapore submitted wide-ranging fake news legislation in parliament, stoking fears among internet firms and human rights groups that it may give the government too much power and hinder freedom of speech.

(The story was refiled to fix typo in the headline)

Reporting by John Geddie; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie

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