ST must show some spine

1 June 2005

If I were LKY and those few around him, I would feel embarrassed rather than appreciate the unimaginative, mechanistic self-censorship practised by ST in not publishing Anthony Yeo’s letter defending Ravi.

ST was very loud when it reported PAP’s insistence on “the right to reply” in its disputes with the foreign press. We have here a respected, reknowned Singapore professional counsellor explaining Ravi’s action defending his character against the imputing of dishonourable motives for his support of Shanmugam’s family.

And ST is solely responsible for publishing the character attack in a lead article. It seems that what the PAP allows ST to publish becomes law, and any alternative view is silenced, knowing full well how effective that is in a country where no press independent of SPH exists.

And the issue under discussion is not even a “political” one. Even the PAP will acknowledge that hanging drug traffickers is defensible at best only as a neccesary evil, and appreciate the prima facie disproportionality of capital punishment for just having been found in possession of that weightage of certain drugs.

Singaporeans would be devoid of any moral sensitivity if they don’t feel the tension between that punishment and the justice and compassion the PAP seems also to want to instil in them.

We have been made aware of “OB markers”. ST seems now to want to extend those to exclude discussion of just anything the PAP has made law, irrespective of how arguable it is. “OB markers” now becomes no longer to do with issues affecting national security.

D.J. Enright, in Memoirs, observed that the only paper that survived LKY’s purging of newspapers in the 60s was the paper he had previously held in contempt for its spinelessness, that is the Straight Times. ST needs to grow some spine, if its support for the powers-that-be is not to prove embarrassing for them instead.


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