Thursday, October 29, 2009

Media Freedom: A free discussion on Malaysia and Singapore

IF you think your media are not free, read journo-blogger Op-Ed's article Media - Ethiopia, Sudan, Haiti then Singapore.

These are the main points if you want to write about Singapore.
1) The government allows to write anything. But if it sees you straying into rumours and syiok sendiri political stories, it will not stand still.
It will be very vigorous in trying to get its response across.
Don't lose in court, baby. Don't.

If, to take a Malaysian example, you put out a story about the government being corrupt, or PM Najib Razak being involved with some murder (as some websites and blogs did), then expect a strong response. Unless you have court prove-able proof.
(And don't run and hide away like a royal coward after making scurrilous allegations about murder against the PM! Unless of course, they don't have any proof in the first place, just syiok sendiri writings).

The reason for staying true is simple: Singapore does not want some untrue stuff, or some things presented as 'facts' which it thinks are unfairly inaccurate, to be spread in the public domain forever and ever.
It will sue if necessary.
Be prepared to defend yourself vigorously.

As Minister Shanmugam says:
"Our approach on press reporting is simple: The press can criticise us, our policies. We do not seek to proscribe that.
"But we demand the right of response, to be published in the journal that published the original article. We do not accept that they can decide whether to publish our response. That irks the press no end."

In Malaysia, taking the example further, if a politician were to sue over some nonsense article, then a rumour will be accepted as fact, instead of the opposite.
When Anwar Ibrahim sued the writer of the book '50 Dalil' (50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become PM), people actually started to say: 'There you are, the book contains truths, so he wants to shut up the publisher and writer. Otherwise, why sue?'
If PM Najib or Dr Mahathir Mohamad were to sue some website or newspaper over something, people will cry about 'media freedom being restricted'.
'They are scared of the truth lah! Vote them out!'
Lim Kit Siang will ask for a commission of inquiry.

If you are not against media freedom, read the rest of the article, H E R E.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jalan Tangsi's life member dies

Tara Singh 1917-2009. The journalism fraternity has lost a doyen in Tara Singh (pic) who passed away in his sleep on Wednesday at the Univer-siti Malaya Medical Centre. Tara, 93, contributed to a Chinese newspaper before he retired from journalism. He came to be called Tan Ah Seng by his colleagues and was also an editor at Nanyang Press Group’s New Life Post until a few months ago.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Hardial Kaur, 78, who described her husband as a jovial man and a fighter to the end. “His best asset was his sense of humour. He was a nice man,” she said when met at their one-storey home in Section 8 here.

Tara was admitted to hospital for fever, diarrhoea and stomach pains on Sept 21 and recovered several days ago. Despite being weakened, Tara ignored the doctor’s orders and decided he wanted to move around and be active.

A friend and former New Straits Times journalist Philip Mathews said one of Tara’s best efforts as a journalist was writing a series of article on the infamous Pudu prison about 15 years ago. Another unique event of Tara’s life was when he was invited by Tan Sri T. H. Tan, the MCA secretary-general during the Alliance years, to help edit the party’s newsletter, in 1952.

Tara was the only non-Chinese to be made an MCA member when the party’s first president Tun Tan Cheng Lock did not object. Tara was cremated at 4pm yesterday at the Shah Alam crematorium in Section 21. Prayers will be held at the Gurdwara Sahib on Lorong Utara (B) on Oct 22 from 5pm to 7pm.

Article courtesy of