The relationship between MM and ST/Zaobao

If anybody still has doubts about the relationship between the PAP and its ever faithful press, this should clear things up.

During the Q & A session at the Nanyang Technological University held in 2003 when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was invited to speak, the MM was talking about entrepreneurship when he referred to an old PAP supporter who had succeeded in turning his small business into a successful one. Mr Lee wanted his young listeners to take note of the case: I dont know if you read an article in the Sunday Times just last week about a food seller who became a big importer and exporter of fruit. I got to know him. So I told the Straits Times and the Zaobao. I said, Cover his life story. (emphasis added) (,1819,+I+don%E2%80%99t+know+if+you+read+an+article+in+the+Sunday+Times+just+last+week+about+a+food+seller+who+became+a+big+importer+and+exporter+of+fruit.+I+got+to+know+him.+So+I+told+the+Straits+Times+and+the+Zaobao,+I+said,+%22Cover+his+life+stor&hl=en)

Notice how Mr Lee didnt just bring the subject to the newspapers attention he simply told them to run the story. And they did. What efficiency, what authority, what utter rubbish. In an age where free information flow is necessary for a vibrant economy and a thinking, questioning media is vital to a sound political system, Singapore still has a single politician telling newspapers what to publish.

In contrast, consider this: The Straits Times recently published a string of letters criticizing the Singapore Democrats. When the SDP sent in its reply regarding how PAPs economic policies were hurting Singaporeans and how the SDPs alternatives could benefit them, the Forum editor wanted the following paragraph deleted: “…It must be remembered that wage levels do not just measure wealth, it goes a long way to ease the financial burdens of everyday life in this country. With record levels of low birth rates, bankruptcies, divorces, mental breakdowns, and even suicides all driven by the disparity between the high cost of living and low levels of wages in Singapore is it not time to take the SDPs proposals seriously?”

With such brazen control of what goes into or stays out of public attention, is it any wonder then that Reporters Without Borders ranks Singapore 147th out of 167 countries in terms of press freedom? Responding to this Information Minister Lee Boon Yang said: ‘We have a different media model in Singapore.’ Of course one where the Minister Mentor tells the press what stories to cover and where the newspaper publishes attacks on the SDP and then refuses to give it the right of reply.

In the end the only people who lose out are Singaporeans. The longer Singaporeans allow such a situation to persist, the more dangerous our future is going to be.

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