Ridge interview with Dr Chee not just “part of the research process”

April 8, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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The online version of The Ridge Magazine, a publication of the National University of Singapore Students’ Union, has denied that the magazine censored an interview it did with Dr Chee Soon Juan.

The Ridge defended its decision not to publish the interview because the piece was just a “part of the research process” for a report it did on the public forum the SDP held on election reform in January this year.

It added that its reporter, Mr Kelvin Lim, conducted the interview in order to “get a better understanding of the event.”

This explanation seems to be at odds with what Mr Lim told the SDP which was that the interview with Dr Chee “will appear as a separate article, which hasn’t yet been published.” (emphasis added)

The SDP had asked to be informed when the interview would be published.

Two months later, having not heard from Mr Kelvin Lim, the Singapore Democrats emailed the reporter to find out if the interview had already been published.

It was only then that Mr Lim replied: “Oh, I don’t think my editor intends to use the interview as I had already passed the transcript to him. Nonetheless, please help me convey my apologies to Dr. Chee for having spent some of his personal time for an unpublished interview.”

Clearly, the interview was not part of some research process of a report as claimed.

The SDP is happy to note that the editors of The Ridge guard its editorial independence with vehemence. We also commend Mr Kelvin Lim for trying to get the interview out to his fellow students in the first place.

But given the overall climate of fear in Singapore, including the universities, it is hard to believe that censorship, imposed or otherwise, does not play a role when it comes to reporting on politics.

Would it not be more credible for editors to simply say that given the constraints, everyone is doing the best they can? Censorship is at the front, back and centre of life in Singapore. No media person can say that he or she is not affected by it.

If the editor(s) of The Ridge still has doubts, the SDP is happy to post its correspondence with Mr Kelvin Lim online so that viewers can read for themselves what really happened and form their own conclusions.