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Online Newspapers

History of Newspapers in Singapore

The government did not normally censor the press in Singapore, but it owned the radio and television stations and closely supervised the newspapers. Under the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act (NPPA), passed in 1974 and amended in 1986, the government could restrict - without actually banning - the circulation of any publication sold in the country, including foreign periodicals, that it deemed guilty of distorted reporting. These laws provided the legal justification for restrictions placed on the circulation of such foreign publications as the Asian Wall Street Journal and Time magazine's Asian edition in 1987. The government also restricted the circulation of Far Eastern Economic Review and Asiaweek in 1987 for "engaging in the domestic politics of Singapore."

Singapore had seven daily newspapers at the end of 1987: two in English, The Straits Times and The Business Times; three in Chinese,Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News, and Lianhe Zaobao; one in Malay,Berita Harian; and one in Tamil,Tamil Murasu. With the exception of the Tamil Murasu, all were published by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, a group that comprised Singapore News and Publications Ltd, the Straits Times Press Ltd, and the Times Publishing Company. Daily newspaper circulation in 1988 totaled 743,334 copies, with Chinese language newspapers accounting for the highest number (354,840), followed by English (340,401) and Malay (42,458) newspapers.

Today there are a total of 16 newspapers in active circulation in Singapore, of which three are distributed for free. Some of these also carry supplementary tabloids sold together with the main spreadsheet, such as Digital Life, Mind Your Body, and Urban distributed with The Straits Times.

Newspapers at the Singapore National Archives

The Singapore National Archives has several newspaper collections available online digitally through NewspaperSG and on microfilm in the Southeast Asia Collection at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. The following collections are some of the newspapers available on microfilm:

Years Newspaper Name
1970-present Berita Harian
1957-1970 Berita Harian Malaysia
1920-1930 Idaran Zaman/Edaran Zaman
1935-1941 Indian
1946-1956 Indian Daily Mail
1881-1895 Jawi Peranakan
1945-1964 Kerala Bandhu
1914-1931 Lembaga Melayu
1953-1955 Majlis
1964-1977 Malayasia Malayali
1950-1953 Melayu Raya
1955-1976 Navjiwan, National Punjabi News
1887-1890 Singai Nesan Tamil Journal
Years Newspaper Name
1827-1837 Singapore Chronicle
1874-1897 Straits Observer
1869-1881 Straits Times Overland Journal
1964-1980 Tamil Malor
1936-present Tamil Murasu
1960-1976 Tamil Nesan
1970-present Berita Harian
1835-1942 The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser
1925-1962 The Singapore Free Press
1845-present The Straits Times
1939-1998 Utusan Melayu & Utusan Zaman
1930-1941 Warta Malaya
1958-1963 Warta Negara