Mr Loh Chee Kong of the Today newspaper replied to Mr Chiam See Tong’s email yesterday, denying that he had agreed to Mr Chiam’s request not to publish anything Mr Chiam had said about the Singapore Democrats.
Mr Chiam had emailed Mr Loh yesterday to ask Today to stop publication of the interview after the SDP raised concerns about some of Mr Chiam’s characterisation of the party.
Shortly thereafter Mr Loh replied to Mr Chiam. The reporter forwarded his reply to the Singapore Democrats and asked us to publish it because this website had reported on Mr Chiam’s email to Mr Loh yesterday.
In the interest of Mr Loh’s right of reply, we reproduce his email in full as well as Mr Chiam’s email. We will let readers read both sides of the story and let them make up their own minds.
We do not wish to sink to the level of the gutter journalism that the Singapore press practices where they regularly publish highly defamatory and untruthful articles/reports about Dr Chee Soon Juan and the SDP — and then refuse to publish our replies or censors them heavily.
Chiam’s email to Loh (27 Feb 09)
Dear Chee Kong (Today Newspaper)
On the 25 Feb, 2009 at about 11.30am during the interview, I told you not to publish anything of what I have said concerning Dr Chee Soon Juan and the Singapore Democratic Party, and later re-enforced my earlier instruction over the phone on the 26 Feb, 2009.
Despite my instructions, you went ahead to email Dr Chee for confirmation of my off the cuff comments of Dr Chee and the Singapore Democratic Party. In the event, please stop all publication of my whole interview with you on 25 Feb 2009. (emphasis original)
Chiam See Tong
Loh’s reply to Chiam (27 Feb 09)
Dear Mr Chiam,
Thanks for the email. May I explain myself.
Firstly, it was agreed at our interview that we would not publish any remarks which might be seen as defamatory. My email to Dr Chee asking for his comments did not touch on any of the things Mr Chiam said that might be construed as “defamatory”.
Second, my email to Dr Chee was sent at 12.46pm. The conversation — in which Mr Chiam asked to retract what he said about SDP and Dr Chee — took place several hours later. I agreed to Mr Chiam’s request and asked if we can mention the fact that he had changed his outlook on people after all these years in politics. Mr Chiam said that would be fine as these are thoughts on his personal life.
I’m sorry, we cannot accede to the request of retracting the whole interview because there is no basis for us to do that. At the same time, may I assure you that the stories tomorrow would not in any way be defamatory to anyone concerned.