An official rebuke to popular blogger Mr Brown over a newspaper article seen as critical of Singapore's government has sparked online and offline protests.
Some comments were deemed acceptable when published in blogs, but not when they spilled over into the mainstream media, according to a government minister who had earlier praised the blogger's work.
'Mr Brown', whose real name is Lee Kin Mun, claims that he was suspended from his position as a part-time columnist for a local newspaper after the government complained about one of his articles.
The 36 year-old writer and humorist publishes a popular blog and ongoing series of satirical podcasts. The popularity of his work had secured him a newspaper column.
Lee complained about the rising cost of living in Singapore and hinted that bad news about higher prices might have been held back until after recent elections.
He also poked fun at plans for a high-tech cashless society, and told readers how new means-testing rules had increased the cost of education for his autistic daughter.
Four days after Lee's article was printed, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts responded with a critical letter published in the newspaper. Lee said that the paper suspended his weekly column shortly afterwards.
The official letter accused Lee of "distorting the truth" and stated that it was "wrong" for the humorist to "make light" of government technology plans.
"Instead of a diatribe Mr Brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly," said the government statement.
Critics of the Ministry's letter pointed out that, despite the pseudonym, the true identity of 'Mr Brown' was in fact widely known, and had been published previously in the same newspaper.
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