28 April 2008
In conjunction with the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2008, the Singapore Democrats would like to meet with you and your colleagues to discuss how the press in Singapore can better serve the people.
A few questions weigh heavily on our minds as I hope they do yours: Is there room for alternative news organsations to take root in Singapore? Should the Singapore Press Holdings continue its monopoly of the press in this country and is such an arrangement healthy for Singapore’s future? Are Singapore’s journalists working to ensure a free and pluralistic media landscape?
There is little argument that the coverage of the opposition by the media is dismal especially during elections. Does the Straits Times have any plans to do remedy this problem?
There also seems to be an agenda on the part of the Straits Times to black out news particularly on the SDP. We would, of course, like to hear from you whether this is in fact the case and, if it is, whether anything can be done about it.
We would also like to discuss the Straits Time’s confusing and arbitrary policies about publishing the SDP’s replies in your Forum page. I am sure you are aware of my recent exchanges with your Forum editor Mr Yap Koon Hong.
If a meeting is possible we would be happy to discuss a mutually convenient time and place. Thank you.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
On a related matter the public forum on Singapore’s press freedom that the Singapore Democrats were planning for 3 May will be postponed.
Most of the speakers invited are unavailable that day because of prior commitments. Only Mr Martyn See has accepted our invitation to speak. Dr Gillian Koh has turned down the invitation.
Given the situation the SDP has proposed a later, and hopefully convenient, date and re-sent the invitation to Mr Alex Au, Ms Chua Lee Hoong, Dr Cherian George, and Ms Melanie Lee.
We will keep you informed of the outcome.