Honestly, I don’t know how Seah Chiang Nee can write these pieces oh-so-(un)subtly bashing Singapore every week with a straight face.
Just read the following excerpts from The Star 4 June 2011 first…
Print media at the crossroads
Insight Down South
By SEAH CHIANG NEE
Media monopoly and draconian laws continue in Singapore and carrying on in this way could mean an eventual demise of the print newspaper industry.
LOOKING back, it sounds a little silly but the Government once used to punish “misbehaving” newspapers by withholding their right to cover press conferences.
With modern thinking, it is only too easy now to sniff at this form of enforcing journalistic cooperation as self-defeating.
But in those bad old days, it was very real.
When it happened, the hapless journalists could merely shrug and ask each other: Who are they trying to punish – the punisher or the “punishee”?
That was in the 70s when Lee Kuan Yew saw himself besieged by enemies everywhere, real or imagined.
Newspapers which flouted his regulations could have their press cards withheld.
Without it, reporters could not, among other things, attend government press conferences.
I think the ban was eventually lifted when the authorities realised that press briefings were useful only if the press came – the more reporters the better.
Today it would be a public relations nightmare if any company or ministry were to send out invitations for a press conference and nobody came.
Oh, horror and grief! The draconian PAP doesn’t invite press they don’t like to their media conferences. Quick, someone call the UN Security Council to bomb Lee Hsien Loong’s office, he is obviously a human rights abusing dictator! /sarc
Now, compare with Malaysia’s Printing Presses and Publications Act:
The Act has been criticised for curtailing the freedom of speech in Malaysia, which is subject to any restriction Parliament may impose under Article 10 of the Constitution. In particular, it has been alleged that the Act “empowers the Minister to exercise virtually total control over the print media.” This criticism was intensified after a 1987 amendment to the Act established an ouster clause preventing actions of the Home Affairs Minister from being called into question by the courts.
And some history, Ops Lalang:
The operation saw the arrest of 106 persons under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the revoking of the publishing licenses of two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan.
And just recently:
The Home Ministry has asked three newspapers to show cause on why action should not be taken against them over their news coverage on a number of political issues.
Confirming this, the ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit secretary Che Din Yusof told Malaysiakini today that the three papers were English daily The Sun, Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily and opposition PKR’s party organ Suara Keadilan.
He said the ministry has issued the show-cause letters yesterday and the three papers had been given a week to reply.
According to him, The Sun was asked to show cause for allegedly “manipulating and playing up numerous sensitive issues”.
Meanwhile, Sin Chew has been targeted for its recent reports on the racial slur controversy involving Umno division leader Ahmad Ismail.
If a public figure says something seditious, and a newspaper reports it, the government goes after….. the newspaper??
The Home Ministry has banned popular newspaper Makkal Osai after it gave frontpage coverage to the rally for PKR’ advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently.
Which is worse, honestly?
But then again, maybe this is actually his way of cunningly back-handing his own restrictions:
A large factor is public perception that the newspapers here are a government mouthpiece.
The Institute of Policy Studies recently published a survey which said half of Singaporeans believed “there is too much government control of newspapers and television”.
Youths aged 21 to 39 seemed most cynical with six in 10 agreeing with the statement, compared with half of those aged over 60.
Analysts said it indicates a relation between the proportion of media cynics and opposition voters, both of which had risen in tandem in the past 15 years.
Carrying on this way could mean an eventual demise of the print newspaper industry.
Presently, newspaper circulations continue to stagnate and dip little by little.
Replace ‘Singaporean’ with ‘Malaysian’ and he just described the decline of the Malaysian MSM versus alternative media, for the same reasons.