SDP raises serious questions about Select Committee recommendations

The recommendations made by the Select Committee on dealing with fake news are troubling.

The call for alternative news sites to adopt the professional journalistic standards of the “mainstream media” (taken to mean the Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp) to ensure “fairness, accuracy and integrity in reporting”, for example, cannot be taken seriously given our recent history.

The SPH and Mediacorp – both controlled by the government – have failed the fake-news test many times. Below are three examples:

Firstly, the SPH and the predecessors of Mediacorp described the activists arrested in 1987 as “Marxist conspirators out to violently overthrow the government”, even broadcasting the “confessions” of the detainees. No self-respecting newspaper or broadcaster would carry out such a sordid deed unquestioningly. So much for maintenance of “professional journalistic standards”.

The victims of the arrest have now come out in the open and challenged the veracity of the government’s account (even PAP cabinet ministers have questioned this state action). Yet, our print and broadcast media has remained conspicuously silent over their roles in this abject affair.

Another example was during the Bukit Batok by-election in 2016. Lianhe Wanbao falsely quoted Dr Chee Soon Juan in an interview. Mr Lee Hsien Loong then used the quote to attack Dr Chee. The SDP challenged Wanbao’s editors to reproduce the tape of the interview, but the newspaper has remained silent over the episode only making an online file correction once the misrepresentation was pointed out. The print version of the newspaper was, however, circulated.

The mainstream media has also repeatedly through the decades reported the falsehood propagated by PAP ministers that HDB-flat prices would never drop. We now know that this is not true and many Singaporeans are seriously affected.

How does the Select Committee propose to deal with these instances of well-documented fake news dissemination by the mainstream media? Instead of holding up SPH and Mediacorp as paragons of exemplary news organisations, Singaporeans want to know what does the Select Committee plan to do with fake news coming from these organisations?

Standards of journalism should not be benchmarked at the PAP’s standards because, it goes without saying, the party has a vested interest in ensuring that the news is portrayed to its advantage.

It is no coincidence that the Chairman of the Board of SPH is former PAP minister Dr Lee Boon Yang and its English/Malay/Tamil language Editor-in-Chief is Mr Warren Fernandez who was nearly selected as a PAP candidate.

If there are journalistic standards to be maintained, they should be those prescribed by international organizations such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF; Reporters Without Borders). Incidentally, the press in Singapore ranks 151st out of 180 countries in the RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index – a position sandwiched between Ethiopia and Swaziland.

Perhaps, the most important recommendation that the Select Committee could have made, but didn’t, is to repeal the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA) to allow a diversity of ownership and operation of news companies in Singapore. This would allow appropriate peer checks and control of fake news without the PAP’s monopoly of the print and broadcast media.

Also, if the Committee felt that it did not want to consider Dr Thum Ping Tjin’s representation, it is free to do so. There is no need for the mainstream media to call him a liar in sensationalist headlines over the question of the exact terminology of his appointment at Oxford University. After all, the people who know Dr Thum best in a professional capacity have spoken highly of him as a Rhodes scholar and an internationally regarded academic. Resorting to name-calling is juvenile and does not reflect well on the Committee.

The Select Committee also recommends a “national framework for public education initiatives” that would include curriculum in schools.

The curriculum must necessarily include views from all sides of the socio-political spectrum, not just the PAP’s. The present propaganda-type of indoctrination of our students must cease. To this end, opposition parties and civil society organisations should have access to students. Principles and tenets of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights should also be taught in our schools.

Another important issue that the Select Committee has not dealt with is that even with the best crafted laws to combat fake news, it is the implementation of the laws that Singaporeans must be wary of.

A good example of this is the Cooling-off Day provision that prohibits campaigning the day before polling during elections. When PAP candidates were caught infringing the law (examples: Ms Tin Pei Ling and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan), either no action was taken or they were let off with warnings. But when Ms Teo Soh Lung, who commented on her Facebook as an individual on Cooling-off Day, the police raided her home and confiscated her computer which was only returned to her much later and in a damaged condition.

Singapore desperately needs to open up as society matures. The introduction of “fake news” laws without the concomitant removal of laws that stifle the freedom of the press will put the future of this country in peril.

This is especially crucial as the world enters the modern era of disruption and rapid change which will require innovative and creative people to navigate, qualities that oppression and censorship cannot foster.


Singapore Democrats



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15 Responses to “SDP raises serious questions about Select Committee recommendations”

  • Plps n Main S. Media:

    There r many sociopolitical websites in the cybernet. None of the materials there r ever reported by the Main Sucking Media all manned by no one other than the retired big time plps or new nfi journalists hoping po a little gain a lot like their management. Look at all the featured articles there is nothing but vomits of the nepotic power which they swallow wholesale n vomit them out at the public.
    Take the recent hot agenda of PAP on not getting a univ degree n becoming like the billionaire ministers n nepotic plps. The way they write about the gangster who made good looked as if joining a gang will get u somewhere like the plps with univ degree but have nfi of their job whivh can be conned away as long as the lp he poed feels siok. This is not only fske news but filled with evil intention n also great insults to the man who made good. Nothing about his struggle n against all odds esp the obvious bias to degee holders who r willing to succumb to the folth of the power to polanpas n hoping to rise to the top. Even within the academic institutions. Ss those academic mgement who became directors of companies with govt as one of the major shareholders.
    In fact exMine the background of each of the members of the select committee. Wich one id not a glaring polanpa. Is amy of tje political opposition represented or one of the outspoken critic of PAP policy. Select Committee is nothing but just a wayang staged by hungry greedy n aggressive towards the adversed critics n mouth watering what. enefits r waiting for rhaps CEO of the $2 companies with toones of oily water, director of Gorilla dens or public n associate private companies n institution while the chief plp is having his usual morning coffee with the pbbillbnairs or even a gorilla for on of the day.
    PAP Po n pick

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  • Plps n Main S. Media 2:

    PAP = Po And Pick your rewards. ESW has poed bit slacked n the big lp was gone to ashes n mini lp r what big lp has told the world have nfi of anything including having nfi to protect his once loved one n needed him to get hime a gorilla to stench him up. Now the object of revenge has become asses leaving on the rotten idiot to whine at the side. NFI bit has idea of botting his SW to sshee he onged. perhaps to continue like the burnt roti prata to po the old dead lp in hell.

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    Did not Tharman say when you read the main stream papers, you first go to the fine print and the last pages to get anywhere nearer the truth? I would add you’d better also notice what isn’t printed at all!

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  • oxygen:

    PAPpy NEWS PUBLISHING is not called SH*T Times for no good compelling reasons. It habitually writes rubbish and attributes the FAKED “credibility” of those rubbish news and information publishing as to either unspecified or unsubstantiated “reliable sources” or “informed sources” to delude gullible naive peasants.


    To compensate for this loss of public trusts in SH*T Times, PAPpys now habitually tells peasants 1% brevity truth leaving the other peasants to “fill-in-the-blank” of 99% lies, fantasy and propaganda. And to some extent, they have succeeded until the HDB/CPF/Asset enhancement politics and Ministerial Pay scams ALL BLOW UP IN THEIR FACE of lies.

    If voters still won’t vote for change, they deserves what they got – DON’T COMPLAIN ANYMORE BECAUSE YOU GOT WHAT YOU VOTED FOR.

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  • oxygen:

    DICTATORSHIP HAVE STOPPED THINKING AND STOPPED LISTENING when the country is falling apart socially and economically, so PAPpys now resort to escalating oppression to silent public discontent in vain of trying to conceal reality of its failures.

    In so doing, it is accelerating the nation train crash to faster extinction. Don’t blame this entirely on PAPpys chicanery, blame the 70% too stupid to even begin to discover they are stupid to impossibility.

    The other 30% suffers collateral damage.

    AND THE COUNTRY IN DISINTEGRATION of rising poverty struggle down the road to extinction.

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  • oxygen:

    EVEN PAST TENSE HAVE (before going to Tern Sua) admitted to foreign journalist that he had in his reign done some “NOBLE DEEDS” on detention of political dissidents, so it is mysterious why the “latter day hypocritical saints” of “no fake news” is still trying so hard to bury the social media, Dr Thum when peasants all knows that PAST TENSE’s confession of “noble deeds” to foreign journalist GUARANTEES THAT TRUTHS WILL ALWAYS AND FOREVER RISES UP AND RULES REALITY for future generations FROM ITS BURIAL GRAVEYARD.

    Past Tense took his shameful legacy with him to Tern Sua by that little dirty confession. How can that ever be change again thereafter?

    It is a mystery to me!

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  • sad state:

    A little bit of soap will never wash away my tears.

    The lives destroyed by those in power … sad

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  • rukidding:

    Frens,….the “keyword” is “SELECTED” committee !

    Whats there to “Believe and Trust” their recommendations ???

    BET you,…soon,…the people in this Select committee will be “well rewarded” in some ways !

    This….is the Pappy way of using the word…”select committee” !

    And ” SELECT COMMITTEE” will be their standard SOP to use to “FOOL and CHEAT” the people !

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  • HarderTruths:

    What exactly is a Select Committee?

    What is it supposed to do?

    What are its terms of reference?

    Is it overseen by people of undeniable repute?

    Are the investigations and findings transparent, made public and follow the rule of law?

    I am sure you have said ‘Boh’ to all of these. So how can anyone trust the conclusions and recommendations?

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  • What SC really says is. ..:

    What the Select e of members well known by their n colleagues to be nothing but downright plps the bidding of the lps they po. So what they really want to say since the time they r announced to be selected to be in the SC is news that r adverse to the iinteress n benefits of PAP n the lps they po r all fake news n all news favourable n in the interests n creditable to t PAP n the lps they po r real news like the main stream media headed by the plp supremo. This is consistent with the arrogant declaration of the blackened lp ( ESW pos thruout his entire political career until the lp got blackened n he was left hanging pathetically by the little lp he was nursing into an ingrate n a gorilla plaything with nfi but talking stupid) that anyone pointing at Singaporeans who oppose him or his policy is his enemy n should be exterminated. As for ESW he poed the blackened lp whether out of self or blackened deprivation; only ESW’s conscience if he has any left since he carried out his lp order to self gratify themselves with millions which he confessed not too long ago of unworthiness in their midst of ddegeneratd cesspool of shits. He is as all the historical plp faced the same fate of humiliation n deprivity when his well poed lp in Amos famous words dead n gone which brought him endless imbercile brickbat that he has to preceed the nepotic outcast leaving his country to be adopted by the bigger lp that the imbercile nepotist is trying to po like hell n even wasting a hefty $20 millions of good Singaporeans savings.

    Now Mr Chee, u know why the Screwedup Committee told Singapoteans to adopt like them a stoop position when they r posting news like the pro plps of the main stream or pap media in order to classify whether what u say is wayang like plps which is pap truth or fake which is Voice of Singaporeans which to a charred blackened plp r mere noises of his environment of stench of polanpaing.

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  • True news but fake content:

    ST featured article on gangster made good is true news but fake content n fake intention. Singaporeans would like to hear the real true from the former gangster giving his sidevof story to share the true experience n how n what he has to face n put up with before he is what he is today. ST is using him to substantiate the l for young Singaporeans from humble background to day n perhaps join the gang so that he could be like the gangster when he gets old. The gangster who has made good must have extraordinary courage, pride and hard earned dignity n lity to be exploited for an evil cause. Educatinists remain silent r not qualified to be in the noble teaching profession. It is a sacred duty of all teachers to encourage students to go as high as they r blessed with the the ability will take . Whether they become billionaires llke the self gratifying politicians or not is an environmental issue n their contuinual decision n choice but the main trust of enabling them to make the choice is their academic foundation which they have laid with their best n not be led astray by evil agenda to conceal failure n nfi of their profession n sworn oath of duties. Why does pap soent bilkions of s money to support free education with board n allowance from primary to university hundreds of thousands of foreign stuents if they advocate their plps to spread the news that univ degree is no use to becone billionaires? This is just like they import millions of s to fill the jobs including jobs created by retrenchment of SSingaporans n then tell Singporeans to be greedier, hungrier n more agressive than the foreigners they have imported to steal the jobs from them. Which pokitical llead encourage their ccitizens be agressive thieves? but more importantly why he said thatn why one of his fourth gen of shits who as he claims may succeed him as the next pm threatens Singaporean pmet that he has no problem to import foreign Pmets. Wake up fellow Singaporeans, we do not elect shits to bulky us n to threaten or lie to us in their interests n benefits. The power lies in us the not in them. Think why r they afraid to lose the power? Why r they hiding info from us? Why rhey lying? VTO to find the real truth behind the load of garbages they r throwing out to conceal what hey r afraid Singaporeans to know. Only by VTO to uncover the truth which they repeatedly show to be so frightened that Singaporeans will know. What r the truth hey r hiding. VTO to find out. Nothing to lose but mmuchto gain esp our dignity n national pride!

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  • waste of time zzz:

    it is an apt name! the select committee “selects” the “real” things that they want you to see, hear, feel.. other things are therefore fake in their definition.

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  • Are these info fake or real:

    Recently thru the grapevines, there was a doubt on whether imbercile gorilla really imbercile? Some from the academic said he is judging from his need of tuition while on vacation from his University n got it free from his old man plps who were seen to go like a bomb on the u ladder. It seems fake as only clever boy got admitted to that univ but some said it is real because u do not need to be clever if your parent is an old boy or your mother is an old girl. So there is a high probability that he went on his parents ticket like some of the nfi mps became mps by the GRC carriage. So is this real or fake? Could the main stream media no lying professional journalist elucidate?

    Another fav topic is the man dubbed himself as a nobel laureat catcher n the nepotic successor. Apparently it was claimed that without him showing the rope while chaperoning the daft young man on his big trade mission, he has to wait for him every morning in the hotel lobby while he dresses up n has his breakfast. It sounds fake as the young man was rrogant n couldnt wait upon his old man plp. If he didn’t kick his butt whenever he delt like it that arrogant plp would thank his lucky star? Again could the main stream media confirm this info fake or real?

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  • Who to Decide What is Fake?:

    Singaporeans wants Rule of Law and not otherwise!

    What is said by Opposition is not always fake, likewise what is said by the Gahment may not always be true too!

    Singaporeans do not want to witness ‘double standard’; whereby one party is always right and never wrong!

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  • Wankers Party !!:

    SDP should try not to change Singaporeans thinking and instead try to sell them what they will bite.

    Singaporeans cannot be changed. It’s easier to sell them what they like to hear.

    Winning votes is what matters.
    The truth notwithstanding.

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