The Singapore Democrats have been censored again by the mass media. The Today newspaper ran a story about opposition parties and their views on the upcoming general elections. It completely left out the SDP even though we had replied to the reporter’s questions.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated occurence as far as the local press is concerned. The Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorps seem to have an understanding that news about the Singapore Democrats must be blacked out.
For example, Channel News Asia did a report earlier this year on how political parties were using the Internet to spread their messages. The story mentioned only the PAP and Workers’ Party (WP), completely ignoring the SDP even though we have been at the forefront of using the new media. (See here)
Not to be outdone, the Straits Times published a report about the Reform Party’s first anniversary dinner held in September this year. It mentioned the attendance of other opposition parties but left out the Singapore Democrats.
And when it does mention the SDP it publishes falsehoods. For example, Lianhe Zaobao in 2008 reported that this website was losing readers because of the extremist views that the party had taken when in fact the opposite was true. (See here)
In July this year Ms Mavis Toh from the Straits Times emailed the party and submitted questions about the SDP’s Young Democrats because she was “working on an article regarding youth wings in singapore’s political parties.” As far as we know, the story never appeared.
A month later another Straits Times journalist, Mr Cai Haoxiang, emailed the SDP and again wanted to do “a story on what youth wings of political parties in Singapore are doing for National Day.”
Again the SDP emailed the reporter the information and again no story appeared.
The latest incident happened when Mr Zul Othman of Today emailed the SDP a set of questions about the party’s plans for the GE. We replied to the email and alerted the reporter to our response on this website. But nothing appeared in the newspaper’s report about the SDP’s comments. (See here)
If it happens once, it is very possible that events had overtaken or that the story had to be killed for some legitimate reason other than censorship. But when it happens repeatedly where information is sought but not published, is it not reasonable to suspect that the state media may be just fishing for information?
None of the journalists mentioned above got back to the SDP to explain why the information were not used.
Even though party members have been hard at work on the ground visiting estates in Toa Payoh, Bishan, Bukit Panjang and other vicinity, there is precious little coverage of what we do. When we achieve pioneering political work in cyberspace, the media refuses to report them.
In contrast when the PAP gets in on the online action a few years late, announcing last week that it would use new media tools in its campaign, it gets front page headlines.
The question that must be asked is: Why is the PAP-media bent on blacking out news about the Singapore Democrats? Is there something that the SDP is doing that is threatening the PAP’s hold on power?
But the funny thing is that despite the media blackout, or maybe because of it, more people are joining the Singapore Democrats. This is due to our use of the Internet to reach out to Singaporeans. We are determined to bypass the state-controlled media and reach out directly to the people via the new media.
We will continue to invest in the Internet and complement our online work by working hard on the ground. We call on our fellow Singaporeans to not let the media bullying silence your voice, your party, your SDP.
Join the cause and help break the media stranglehold. Email us at: email@example.com