Govt and MSM declare “war” on bloggers and alternative media?

Rogue gallery or free publicity for leading bloggers?

Rogue gallery or free publicity for leading bloggers?

At a time when the credibility of the PAP-government and mainstream media is at an all-time low, both of them appear to have joined hands to declare war on alternative media and Singaporean bloggers.  Over the past couple of years, some leading bloggers like Alex Au and Ravi Philemon  have been either served lawyer’s letters or openly criticised by Ministers.  And today, the govt’s official mouthpiece Straits Times via their political writer du jour Tessa Wong published a two page feature warning people on the hazards of reading Internet news and blogs.

In this feature, ST profiled some leading bloggers in a negative way and ran the list like a rogue gallery with rather biased writeups on each blogger in which it mentioned “wrongs” done by several of those featured without giving the context of what happened nor giving the bloggers’ side of the story.

Many people have questioned the story angle and intent of this report. Tessa’s article is supposedly about the Internet in general yet she only highlighted a very selective group of bloggers and websites – all of whom are socio-political commentators known for their frankness in criticising wrongdoings by the MSM and the PAP government. Why was there no mention of other more established popular bloggers like Mr Brown? Some readers have also asked why the female bloggers were not mentioned? Respected bloggers like Kirsten Han and Molly Meek come to mind easily and yet they were missing from the “honour roll”.

The entire article clearly looked biased from start to finish commencing with the subheadline that said “Online posts that spread misinformation have heightened concerns over how this can cause panic and erode trust in public institutions”….to the ending para that exhorted consumers to become better at “spotting fakes, rumours and conjecture”.

Tessa also started her essay to demolish online credibility by quoting a reader as saying he takes online articles with a pinch of salt as they are “less reliable and more polarising than mainstream outlets”.  She also made it a point to repeat her key message throughout her article that false news and speculation are rampant online and that blogs and online sites are “still less trustworthy” than mainstream media (a desperate attempt to try and make ST look good?).

For good measure, she even threw in a side report giving readers a checklist of advice on how to sort fact from fiction. Ironically, the advice she gave is advice that many Singaporeans are already applying especially to mainstream media which, as everyone knows, serves not the people’s interest but to protect and promote the PAP.  Her advice included asking readers of online media to consider who is the creator and source of the article. Are they authoritative and is there potential conflict of interest? She also advised readers to check if the article has an agenda and advised that they think about what they read as even photos and visuals can be manipulated and taken “out of context to distort or influence perceptions…”

How ironic! Just look at the layout of Tessa’s feature which childishly carried visual cues with drawings of the thumbs down sign in red squares strategically placed ALL over the two pages.
Photo 27-7-13 4 11 44 PMWhat’s the purpose of these visual cues?  Obviously ST is trying to manipulate readers’ perceptions to try and get them to view bloggers and online media as Bad, Bad, Bad.  Thanks for the advice Tessa. I am sure readers will be even more alert now to ST’s biased agenda to serve as guard dog for the G. This feature by ST btw is a fine example of skewed reporting.

Check out all the thumbs down signs in the layout. The only thumbs up sign is facing the side-report that gives advice on how to be careful when navigating the net.

Check out all the thumbs-down signs in the 2-pg layout (all are facing the blogger list) . The only thumbs up sign is facing the side-report on the left that gives advice on how to be careful when reading news on the net.

ST would do well to reflect on why its credibility is at an all time low and why more and more people do not trust it. That ST has had to resort to giving expensive free gifts like cameras to lure new subscribers in recent years says a lot for its dwindling readership. Lately, it has also taken to promoting its “star” writers in large advertorials in an attempt to boost its credibility. All these efforts, in my view, will come to nought so long as ST continues to offer biased one sided views that fail to represent the truth and reflect reality.

As for the government’s stance on shackling the Internet by attacking the credibility of established websites like The Online Citizen and reputable bloggers like Alex Au, it just proves that they are desperate and getting worried about the general elections in 2016. Clearly, the Internet has given long-silenced Singaporeans a voice and many new sources of information and this has badly dented the G’s strategy of keeping us as an ignorant and unquestioning people.

Our govt is afraid of Singaporeans’ ability to think critically and to discern. And we will become increasingly careful and discerning when we read anything, be it from mainstream or online media. The point is, we can and we will read as much as we want and make our own decisions on who and what is credible.

Declaring war on alternative online media and bloggers is plain stupid as it will not increase the people’s trust in the G nor in mainstream media. Such attacks simply underscore how desperate the tyrants have become and how they fail understand that respect and trust have to be earned the right way – through their own actions and merit.

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21 Responses to Govt and MSM declare “war” on bloggers and alternative media?

  1. david says:

    Smart citizens will know that whatever the government smears, just reverse them in the opp way and that is where the truth is. Now we know that the online media is the most credible platform as you can get alternate views with more factual information. Try that with ShittyMedia with their one-sided poohshit begotten to their paymaster.

  2. david says:

    ” is there potential conflict of interest?”
    I am surprised that those working at SPH knows what is conflict of interest. So many conflict of interest happening in government and you-know-who family , and did she write anything about it ?

  3. K says:

    In this day and age where many Singaporeans reach for news online for improved coverage, ST’s refreshed crusade and alignment with PAP against online media can only end in comical self-destruction.

    The FUD mongering might’ve worked better if this were published in Chinese tabloids, where a good portion of its readers remain unexposed to online news because of difficulties with English (or technology).

  4. I will not be surprise if they make use of MDA censorship to start censoring blogs (going back on the words) as many other forms of such initial signs of authoritarian style is carried out over the years of PAP rulings.

  5. Walter Tan says:

    The article named is so paternalistic, the writer, like our stubborn government treats all citizen as young naïve children that must behave within the government OB markers. I find her bias and opinionated article not worthy of my time.

    But at the same breath, I am glad that they have highlighted the key websites that most will visit to receive valuable and credible information, alternative news and views. In a most flattery way, the article has accredited the named sites as worthy!

    To the contrary of the writer’s objective, her article is good publicity for the referenced sites. Perhaps, its time that our Govt and MSM zipped their mouth. The more they trumpet, the more vulnerable they before, soon they will trip over themselves. This also shows that our disturbed government are cracking their machines to handle GE2016 and possibly aiming the scope of the new MDA licensing requirements on those sites, its not new any way, I believe.

    • CSWong says:

      Very Well Said
      Their past policies is haunting them now, resulting in their fear and sense of Jittery.Hence their attempts to discredit the bloggers who give an alternate view.

  6. ATH says:

    Apparently, all the bloggers listed above except for 1 had on more than 1 occasion issued public apologies for having said things wrong. The most famous of all was the blogger who used the “F” word on our president. Can these jokers be credible?

    • PM Lee has also apologised to the whole nation during GE 2011 so is he still credible as a PM?

    • david says:

      blogger who used “F” word on our president at least express his true sentiment of how he feel about PAP. How about president and the PAP who politely “FU” with their ridiculous world’s record breaking salary using taxpayer’s money for doing nothing deserve of their salary and “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” of their own party (aimgate, corruptionGate ?) So which is worst ? Someone who FU but did not harm you, or someone who harm you financially by doing his duty of NOT speaking up for the people ? Don’t forget whatever loss the govt incurred is levied back to the citizens in form of PayAndPay.

      Now tell us who is credible ?

    • K says:

      Not seeing your wise correlation between the use of curse words and credibility.

      As a rule, I take anyone who are honest about their errors to be more credible than those who assault others for pointing out theirs.

  7. ATH says:

    Do these people live on love and fresh air? No. They live by using their pens to write against the political foes of their pay master.

  8. Cowmyass says:

    Hey guys, I’m gonna propose something here. I think Tessa Wong wrote the whole article under duress. I do not know Tessa, nor give a shit about her, but consider this:
    -the whole article is written under the agenda given by her superiors to defame and dissuade online news sources. – She has achieved that (I believe it was under duress)
    -She writes about how to tell that an article is bias, and written with agenda etc., distorting facts, using visual cues to misrepresent stuff etc… – She made it absolutely sure and certain that her points and message on on how to “flag a shit article” was conveyed across to us.
    – The article is FULL OF the things that she spoke of which makes an article “shit” (my words, not hers. she can’t say that, remember?)

    upon considering these, isn’t she therefore saying to us readers: do not trust the papers you are currently reading. we have agenda and motives. we clearly have a head who is in a political group which is currently in power, and shit will rain down on us if we do not report them accordingly. please please, I hope you guys got my “hidden message” and do not set me on fire just because I am doing my job. and if you guys are smart enough to debate many other topics, please look at me and have mercy….

    LOL that’s just my bullshit

    anyways… especially after I made this comment…. If Tessa’s not one of “us”, who so happens to work in ST, if her bosses sees this… well… she’s screwed.


  9. Catherine says:

    The Straits Times is best known these days as The State’s Times. Agree with what most of the thoughts expressed here. The level of fallacious reasonings that ST journalists put up in their articles can make for good reading materials for teaching General Paper.

  10. Jafri basron says:

    It just shows that establishment fails to understand that respect and trust have to be earned the right way – through their own actions and merit.

  11. Shitty Times always says:

    Please the Straits Times does not deserve the title the “The State’s Times”. It will always be called the “Shitty Times” and such articles just about confirm that status.

  12. Anon says:

    I buy the ST once every few weeks on Saturdays, as I use the paper to pick up my doggie poo. Yup! Just ran out of paper today and will need to get a copy tomorrow! 🙂

  13. Pingback: Govt and MSM declare “war” on bloggers and alternative media … | Lane Hudson

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