Singaporeâ€™s media landscape stays tightly restricted. All media outlets, newspapers and radio and television stations, are owned by companies with close ties to the government. The Sedition Act has been in effect since the colonial period, banning any kind of seditious speech, materials or acts. In such a repressive environment self-censorship is common. Public censorship also extends into pop culture, regulating references to sex, drugs or violence. Strict laws are also in place for foreign media, demanding legal representatives and high financial deposits to restrict their coverage of domestic politics. Access to the internet is generally unrestricted, though government institutions monitor content and occasionally block sites. However, restrictions were eased in the
run-up to the 2011 elections, allowing more public discussion of political topics and issues. The increasing use of social media platforms can also be seen as a reason for the latest electoral gains of the opposition in 2011. In August 2012 a Media Literacy Council was installed by the government with the intention of providing advice regarding the increasingly complex media landscape. Though this could be seen as a possible opening towards public debate and online activism, critics have warned that it will lead to new restrictions of internet freedom.