Singapore’s judicial process is based on the assumption that an accused person is ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty.’
However, this cardinal principle of our justice system invariably takes a backseat whenever it comes to dealing with oppositionists.
A case in point is the recent arrest of Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr Gandhi Ambalam, outside the Istana on l May when workers the world over came out in full force to mark May Day.
Dr Chee is being investigated for ‘trespass’ and Mr Gandhi ‘disorderly behaviour’. The charges are without doubt part of the ongoing attempt by the PAP to criminalise genuine opposition politics in Singapore.
But how do our police and the local media, in particular the Straits Times, project the arrests is an interesting study in the ‘art of misinformation’ by an regime that uses the entire state machinery to further its agenda?
The newspaper seems to have ignored the fact that the case against the leaders has not gone before a court of law. Under such a scenario, newspaper reports should only say that they have been ‘alleged’ or ‘claimed’ by the police to have committed the said offences under the penal code.
But a report in the Straits Times on May 15, said: “Dr Chee ignored police warnings to stop an illegal rally outside the Istana on Labour Day. Mr Ambalam shouted at police officers leading Dr Chee away to the station, and obstructed them from carrying out their duties.”
It is clear that the Straits Times, which claims to be a national daily, is ever ready to charge, try, and convict the two in the editors’ offices. Basic, decent journalism (if there has ever been such a thing in our state media in the first place) does not seem to be a concern.
The charges against the two are still being investigated (why must the police take such a long time to probe a simple, straightforward case?) and yet local media keeps referring to them as persons who are already guilty of the crime.
The way the Straits Times bends over backwards to please its masters is nothing but a classic case of a PAP spin machine in overdrive. Times like these, I am really ashamed of my own country.
A Singapore Worker