The title may sound a little melodramatic and alarmist. What basis do we have for saying this? Consider this: The local media will give other opposition parties coverage and write-ups. But they won’t even give the SDP the right of reply.
Case in point: Today ran a story about Mr Chiam See Tong where reporter Mr Loh Chee Kong took aim at the Singapore Democrats and accused us of practising the “darker side of politics” by “ousting” Mr Chiam.
Firstly, it was Mr Chiam who resigned as party secretary-general, no one ousted him. Secondly, Mr Chiam resigned after executive committee members voted against a motion that he had tabled. How does voting by the executive committee constitute the dark side of politics?
But when Dr Chee wrote in to correct Mr Loh’s version of events, Today remains silent about publishing the reply.
This is not the first time. In 2008, Ms Chee Siok Chin, who was made bankrupt by the Attorney-General, had applied to the Official Assignee (OA) to travel to Stanford University to attend a course in political leadership.
The Straits Times Forum published a letter from the OA that was not just misleading but an outright lie. When Ms Chee wrote to correct the factual inaccuracies, the newspaper refused to publish it. (See here)
In March 2008, the Straits Times published a letter by a Mr Paul Fernandez that praised the PAP Government and called on the Singapore Democrats not to conduct “publicity stunts which waste taxpayers’ money.”
Again as before Dr Chee replied but the Straits Times refused to publish it. (See here)
Last year, Lianhe Zaobao reported an opposition member, Mr Goh Meng Seng, saying that the Singapore Democrats are an extremist party and that this website was losing readership. (See here) The SDP explained its strategy and provided statistics to show that its readership was (and is) increasing.
SDP assistant secretary-general, Mr John Tan, pointed these out in a reply which the Chinese newspaper refused to publish.
In 2005, the Straits Times published two letters: One by Mr Siow Jia Rui and the other by Singapore ambassador to Australia Mr Joseph Koh attacking Dr Chee over the matter of hanging of small-time drug peddlers like Mr Nguyen Van Tuong while the Government continued dealing with Burmese druglords. Today and Lianhe Zaobao also carried reports critical of Dr Chee over the issue.
None of the newspapers published his reply.
The New Paper carried a scathing article on Dr Chee over the issue but censored the most crucial points in the reply. This despite Dr Chee’s strict instructions not to amend his letter without permission. (See here and here)
In addition, important news such as the on-going trials where the SDP repeatedly exposes the incompetence and untruthfulness of police witnesses, and where crucial issues of public interest are being argued in court, the press refuse to report on them.
Melodramatic? Alarmist? No, we call it like it is.
Note well: This trend will intensify as we draw closer to the next elections. The SDP will be rundown and vilified by the local media again. Is it any wonder then that many Singaporeans don’t understand what we are striving for?
We will persevere, however. We will not kowtow to the autocrats who control all the newspapers and broadcasting stations in Singapore and who run this country like a fiefdom.
Our only avenue of communication with the Singaporean public is the Internet. We therefore call on our supporters to help us disseminate our information and encourage voters to visit this website.