Shame on our Mainstream Media for failing its readers and Singaporeans

It is a crying shame that we Singaporeans have to resort to reading overseas media reports to get the full impact of the protest held at Hong Lim Park yesterday. The international media including the BBC News,Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Aljazeera, Bloomberg, Reuters, Jakarta Post and South China Morning Post (SCMP) all gave very substantial coverage to the event which will surely go down in our history as a significant milestone. Several of the foreign press noted that this was an important and rare protest in our tightly-controlled country of docile beings.  Hongkong’s SCMP even reported it on their front page! 521293_530197603670040_832776153_n (Click on all the hyperlinks to read those reports)

The Feb 16 protest was Singapore’s biggest public protest since its independence as it drew an estimated 5,000 attendees. And it would likely have been more if it weren’t for the rainy weather. It was a day when thousands of Singaporeans of all races shed their fears of the government and stood together to protest openly against the White Paper  proposal to up our population to 6.9 million by importing loads more foreigners.

The protest showed the world that it is not just the online world that is upset as claimed by our government . It showed the depth of the sorrow, pain and anger of the citizens of Singapore at the preposterous idea of being reduced to a possible minority in their own country in the not too distant future. The protest put a face to the so-called “noise” a dismissive term used by the PAP to describe its critics. And the “faces” that we saw were represented by Singaporean men and women of all ages, races and religions.

Despite its historical significance, our local media downplayed the news. If they had their way, they would not even have reported it at all. But they couldn’t avoid it simply because the rest of the world media was reporting on the event. It was definitely a front page local news story but no, the leading newspaper Straits Times felt it was best to tuck it away on Page 4 with a shallow report that did not do justice to the event and the cause. Ok so there was a blurb on front page masthead but it was so tiny and had a photo so small that you had to hold it close and squint to see the pix contents.

As for The New Paper, it delivered the ultimate insult by reducing its report on the protest to just a mere photo caption, an honour reserved only for news deemed as un-newsworthy. Today’s TNP carried a followup report on the event but it skewed it in a negative way by focusing on and quoting ESM Goh Chok Tong as saying on his Facebook that he doesn’t “think much of the speakers’ rhetoric. Too political, too one-sided, appealing to emotions only and not shedding light on important issues”. (To this, we could say the same about the White Paper btw – it was too political, too one-sided about GDP and foreigners, too unemotional about Singaporeans and not shedding enough light on important data and facts.)

TNP’s second report also tried to downplay the event again by referring to the crowd size as “estimated to be anything between 1,000 and 5,000…” What kind of sloppy journalism is that, to use outdated estimates when they should have been there to report on the event and where there are lots of photos of the large crowd as evidence. Too lazy to do their own sums or simply too biased and intent on writing a negative report TNP?  For more evidence of bias, count the number of paragraphs given to both reports – The negative story angled on Goh received seven paras while yesterday’s coverage of the protest had ONE short photo caption. ‘Nuff said.

To the editors at Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp. I know your hands are literally chained by the government but I hope you had at least tried your best to fight for more worthy coverage. You know deep down this was a newsworthy historical event. By giving it shallow coverage, you have a) set a lousy example to your journos as an editor and shown how your journalistic integrity was compromised  b) done your readers a great disservice and c) failed your fellow citizens and your country.

I hope you and your conscience sleep well at night.

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12 Responses to Shame on our Mainstream Media for failing its readers and Singaporeans

  1. steven theo says:

    Need an overhaul to the govt and the only way is by Singaporean to remove PAP from governing Singapore.

  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 18 Feb 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  3. V.THAMIZHMARAIYAN says:

    I did watch our Singapore English TV , it showed The Hong Lim Park meeting on ” White Paper, Population. It is little , never mind. ok

  4. thats the thing. we have been conditioned not to expect any coverage on such topics so much so that when the msm actually do so, they expect us to be grateful for the morsels? No. the local media did not do justice in the depth and breath of coverage they gave to this historical protest. And they know it.

  5. Jack says:

    Whoever reads the local printed news these days? Worldwide, newpapers are going the way of the dinosaurs and ours will go in double quick time, Even ST’s former writer, Bertha Henson is
    critical about her former employers in her latest post

    • Maudy says:

      “Whoever reads the local printed news these days?”

      but then why the public is funding SPH and mediacorp through government ? These media companies beholden to the ruling party is using the public’s money to fund the political party’s agenda, propaganda and activities on the large, is that not the truth ? Even a clown can see that.

  6. NO to growing population further says:

    We have stopped reading MSM for a long time, to us, the Shitty Times is just a PAP’s newsletter.

  7. George says:

    Boycott all Singapore newspapers and magazines. Don’t buy them. Hit them where it hurts. Recently they face themselves big prizes for their ‘fantastic’ news reporting. Many, of course are fancy graduates who need to blown their own despicable horns to justify their salaries, just like some ppl we all know.
    They have not just forgotten their true calling but have also thrown away all they learnt about journalism and disregarded the power of the pen bringing shame and disrepute to their profession in Singapore. They should not be called journalists . They should name themselves political writers. That’s what they truly are. So good at criticising other countries but come to their own,…. No sound, no guts, no heroes .. Only political writers who let their own ppl down…. Shame on them … Shame … Shame .. Where there is injustice done, No sound from them, where Singaporeans are hurt, no sound from them .. Where Singaporeans are played out or not listened to.. No sound from them .. They have not used the power of the pen for their own ppl but to exploit it for their own gain … Gutless wonders with shameful trophies in their homes teaching their own children rubbish . Boycott the newspapers and magazines . We Singaporeans don’t need them.

  8. While we may be angry with the local MSM for being politically biased in their coverage, it’s no point over reacting. Most journalists are just doing their job in doing their general reporting so let’s not tar and feather all of them. Many of the reporters don’t like the suppression either. If there’s anyone to blame, it would be the government for exercising the unhealthy totalitarian control of the press. The editors are under control but some are certainly gutless and are members of the PAP party.

    • Maudy says:

      In the same way, can we blame LKY and Nathan for been traitors working with Japanese in WW2 for survival and money while helping the latter to destroy innocent life ? While the patriots sacrifice their lives against the invaders ?

  9. Pingback: Historic protest organised through Facebook, socio political blogs and international press | Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed

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