Today: No censorship, SDP: Really?

November 6, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Mr Derrick Paulo, deputy news editor of Today, said that the reason why it did not include the Singapore Democrats’ response to questions asked by its reporter Mr Zulfiki Othman was because the party sent in its response too late and that there was no censorship. Really?



Dear SDP,

Thank you for your reply to my reporter’s questions. However, please note, as he had explained to you, that your email reply came in at 1.16am, by which time the newspaper was being printed. There was no censorship, but unfortunately, your reply came too late.

Derrick A. Paulo
Deputy News Editor


Dear Mr Paulo,

No, Mr Zul Othman never explained to me that my reply came in late. I did not receive any email or call from him after I sent him SDP’s response to his questions. If he did explain I would have let the matter rest. You might want to check with him again whether he really did send me an explanation.

You say that my email came in only at 1:16 am. But you did not say that Mr Zul emailed us his questions only at 6:38 pm that evening and then wanted the answers “ASAP”.

If he knew that the story was going to be printed that night, why did he send 10 questions at nearly 7 pm after everyone had left the office?

My colleagues and I had gone to sell The New Democrat that evening and did not end our activity until late.

Given the circumstances, one has to question whether Today was sincere about wanting SDP’s response.

Compare this to the AFP’s approach. It turned out that the following day, the AFP wanted SDP’s response to questions about the upcoming APEC meeting. Its reporter called in the early afternoon and then emailed us two questions immediately thereafter.

One minute after we sent our responses, its editor emailed back to acknowledge receipt of our answers and to thank us for it.

You say that Today does not censor SDP’s views. You forget the incident over your reporter’s (Mr Loh Chee Kong) report about Mr Chiam See Tong and the SDP which was published in your print edition in March this year.

I wrote to correct factual inaccuracies in Mr Loh’s report that were disparaging of the SDP. After one week, Today published my reply only on its online version. The readership as you can well appreciate is vastly different between the print and online editions.

Be that as it all may, it is not too late to publish the SDP’s views regarding our preparations for the GE. I am certain that they are still very relevant to your readers.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party