ST Editor admitted that it is a "government mouthpiece"


From: "truth"
Speaking during a dialogue session organised for forum writers to the
Straits Times, ST Editor Han Fook Kwang admitted that the paper suffered
from a perception that it is a " government mouthpiece". But he got the
cheek to say with tongue-in-cheek: "But the test is if our readers believe
in the paper and continue to buy it". It is pathetic that Mr. Han, who is
just a cog in the massive government propaganda organisation is trying to
ape his political masters in continuing to hoodwink the people as to the
insidious political role of the Straits Times. What Mr. Han says about the
Straits Times is not important because he is impotent himself and is not in
a position where he can in any way influence the policy of the Straits
Times.

What is of more concern to the discerning Singaporeans is whether there is
freedom of the press in Singapore. Reporters without Borders ranked
Singapore media 133th in terms of press freedom among 175 countries last
year. Can there be press freedom when the mainstream media is tightly
controlled by a forbidding organisation like the Singapore Press Holdings
(SPH)? It is not some kind of benevolent organisation but an omnipotent body
formed by the government to oversee the mainstream media, especially the
Straits Times, in its dissemination of government propaganda. At the head of
SPH is none other than a former deputy prime minister who is also the spin
doctor.

Under the circumstances, it will be naive to think that press freedom exists
in Singapore. What the mainstream media,especially the Straits Times, dishes
out to the public is what the government wants the public to read. Views,
opinions or articles inimical to the government, especially from opposition
parties, will find it extremely hard to get publicity, esecially in the
Straits Times. Even letters unflattering to the government sent to the Forum
suffered the same fate.

We will see the true colour of the mainstream media, especially the Straits
Times, during the hustings for the General Election. Under the tight control
of SPH, the PAP will have monopoly of the mainstream media, probably to the
exclusion of the opposition parties. The opposition parties will most likely
have to rely on the new media to support their election campaign. The
Straits Times, being a government mouthpiece, is not likely to lend a hand
to the opposition campaign. It will be just wishful thinking.

Although Singapore's population has increased, Straits Times circulation has
shown a decline. It claims an inflated readership of 1.4 million. This shows
that there are Singaporeans who cease to read the Straits Times because they
are disgusted with its pro-government propaganda. These are the people who
turn to the internet for their supply of local and foreign news and they
could form a fairly substantial number. There are also some who read the
Straits Times for its sports, social and financial news, skipping its
propaganda.

One will have to be cynical to believe that there is press freedom in
Singapore. This, at best, depends on the charitable whim of the powers that
be.
Posted by Singapore Recalcitrant

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