The Singapore media is clearly determined to stay at the bottom of press freedom rankings.
Ms Sue-Ann Chia’s report Chee lied about visits to avoid court hearing (ST, 5 Nov 2004) could not be anymore slanted even if one tried.
Ms Chia wrote that “The Taiwan visit [in February 2004] was missing from Dr. Chee’s sworn statement to the court in which he listed the places he had visited between February and September.”
What she omitted to report was that Dr Chee had told the court that the date in question was 6 September 2004 during which the hearing was held. Dr Chee had stopped in Taiwan enroute to the US for his fellowship in February 2004. How was February relevant to the date in question which was September? Ms Chia intentionally omitted Dr Chees reply to make it out that Dr. Chee had intentionally hidden this from the public.
Dr Chee had also said that although the fellowship officially started on 1 March 2004, he had to leave earlier to stopover in Taiwan (for Dr Chees wife to visit her parents and to break the journey up as it was difficult for children to make the long journey in one go).
In addition he had to arrive in the US in advance in order to look for housing, a school for the children, and other logistical arrangements. All this may not be within the official fellowship period by were certainly tasks that were related to the fellowship. Of course, the local media again did not inform the public about this matter.
Channel News Asia reported: In actual fact, Dr Chee was on holiday in Taiwan with his family. Dr Chee had explained that it was impossible for him to leave his three children with his wife and in-laws in Taiwan and return alone to Singapore as his in-laws were not in the best of health. The report, of course, deliberately left out Dr Chees explanation.
This kind of journalism is what one would expect from totalitarian states where the government chokes information flow, freedoms of expression and justice in the country. But then again, nobody ever disputed that Singapore was run by a dictatorship.