Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is the press a govt mouthpiece?

'We have no interest in having the press as a mouthpiece of the Government. I don't need The Straits Times to be a mouthpiece of the Government. We have officers who can do that for us.

What we need is a credible, respected, accurate press that ensures that Singaporeans remain among the most well-informed people in the world...Simply because we're so small and in order for Singapore to survive, we need to interact with the rest of the world.'



'Being a journalist in Singapore is not easy but they are no fools. And they haven't sold their souls and they are upright moral people who believe that, while they may not be the Fourth Estate, in their heart of hearts, they have a role to play in maintaining the survival and viability of our country...It's no point having a totally compliant press...because we are so small and Singaporeans are not stupid.'



'The most potent impact the new media will have on politics is that politicians will find it impossible to lie in the future. The truth will always be out there because somewhere, someone has the facts, or has seen something, and will publish it.'

But as he went on to note: 'Fortunately for us in Singapore, we have run a clean system, and hence have nothing to hide. That is the key reason we do not fear the new media.'


I wish had the opportunity to see Dr. Balakrishnan's face when he said that. And the expressions on the faces of everyone else in the room.

Dr. B, whom were you trying to convince that the local press in Singapore is not subservient and a team of cheerleaders for the government's policies? Still playing the race and religion Bogeyman in the 21st century?

Take our foreign talent labour policy for example. Suppose we had the Singaporean equivalent of the NY Times, you can bet your last dollar that reporters will be demanding the number of jobs created that went to Singapore citizens and not the fudged number of jobs that went to 'residents' which Singaporeans are told. Or take the Shin Corp fiasco for example. Notice how conveniently quiet our local press has been about the matter.

Why can't you just say that the local press is controlled by the government so that it is easier for the government to manipulate public opinions on their policies?

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