A case of ill-spirited journalism

March 14, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Mr Zhang
Guest Writer

With regards to the recent matter about Mr Loh Chee Kong and the interview Today published on Mr Chiam See Tong, I find it very difficult to maintain my silence. This incident reminds me of a very serious high profile case which involved Newsweek, an international news media.

A simplified version is that a local police officer in the US somehow got himself a “Journalist ID representing Newsweek“. This fake reporter then went about interviewing and collecting confidential information from unsuspecting people.

When the cover was subsequently blown, Newsweek was under tremendous criticism from all around. (See Officer goes undercover as reporter to find leak in criminal investigation)

Now with regards to Mr Loh, such poor behaviour should not be condoned. Mr Chiam’s request for comments about the SDP to be kept confidential should be respected. Yet, Mr Loh went and repeated Mr Chiam’s words to Dr Chee. Even more so if the person interviewed has not only reminded, but has now also made public his objection to what can be published.

When Mr Loh was caught out his response was that he had agreed not to mention the “defamatory remarks”. Was describing the actions of the SDP as “conspiratorial” and “destructive” not defamatory?

Mr Loh’s behaviour is clearly a misconduct. The code of integrity must be respected by professional journalists. The Today reporter had infringed a person’s rights of privacy and confidentiality.

With regards to what has been made known, I can only draw the following conclusions:

a. Mr Loh is not a good journalist.
b. Mr Loh almost sabotaged Dr Chee and Mr Chiam.
c. Mr Loh is worst than the paparazzi.

He should be reprimanded. Such behavior of journalists should not be taken lightly.

M. Zhang is a free-lance editor. He contributed this piece to the SDP website.