Following protests about our exclusion to Talking Point and other programmes, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) finally extended an invitation to the SDP to its forum which was aired last Saturday evening and on which Dr Vincent Wijeysingha spoke for the party.
But now CNA’s Chinese section is doing it again. At its televised debate last night, the SDP was excluded even as the PAP and other opposition parties were invited.
When we queried why this was so, we were told that the PAP, SPP and WP were invited “because there are elected representatives in the Parliament for these parties.” (See exchange of letters below).
The explanation makes no sense but we will leave that to another discussion. We later found out that the National Solidarity Party (NSP) and the Reform Party (RP) were also on the programme. Both NSP and RP do not have MPs.
The Chinese programme reaches out to a very different segment of the electorate and it is important that a party contesting in a general election be given equal opportunity to communicate with all segments of the voting public.
Again, this discrimination is highly unfair to the SDP. All we ask for is for an even opportunity to address voters. We are confident that when the public sees and watches our candidates explaining our policies and platform they will support us.
Unfortunately, there seems to be this effort to give the Singapore Democrats minimal coverage.
28 March 2011
Ms Lee Siew Hoon
MediaCorp Pte Ltd
Dear Ms Lee,
I understand that CNA is also recording a programme where political parties are invited to discuss issues related to the general elections in Chinese.
As there is a significant segment of the electorate that speaks and watches only Chinese programmes, it is important that all political parties be allowed to reach out to these voters.
As such the SDP would like to be invited to speak at this Chinese programme, if there is indeed one.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
(Translation of CNA’s reply)
1 April 2011
Dear Mr Chee Soon Juan,
I am the producer of CNA’s political forum: Singapore’s Future. I am replying to your email sent to our executive editor of our news’ desk, Ms Lee, on 28 March 2011.
The production of our political forums are in both English and Chinese. The PAP, SPP and WP were invited for both the English and Chinese forums, because there are elected representatives in the Parliament for these parties.
Attached you could find a Today article (dated 25 March 2011) with detailed background information about these 2 political forums for your references.
Yong Yih Min
(Reply from Mr Yong Yih Min)