AsiaOne article : [Link]
You would think that the best evidence that our press is free will come from the Singapore press itself. Reporters from the Straits Times outraged by the low ranking should stand up to say that they enjoy the full freedom to write what they think is right without having to fear for their careers or their articles being having edited. It is pure co-incidence that the editor of the Straits Times is the author of the most flattering book[Link] ever written about MM Lee. Singapore is ranked 144 out of 173 countries based on the Press Freedom Index compiled by the organization Reporters without Borders. Singapore is ranked below Ethiopia, Sudan, Kazahkstan, Venezuela, Guinea and Haiti. Understand that this ranking is for "press freedom" not for integrity, accuracy, or constructiveness. The press in Venezuela is actually quite free despite the Western media portrayal of President Chavez as a dictator, the majority of newspapers there are critical of him and he has no power to shut them down[Link].
"We do not accept that they can decide whether to publish our response,” he said, adding that if the press crossed the line from attacking its policies and making allegations of fact against someone then there would be a libel suit and the factual accusation must be proven.
“If allegation is proven, the plaintiff will lose the case and pay legal costs. Otherwise the accuser pays damages and legal costs,” he added.....He said the press were not used to this anywhere else in the world, and it would be no surprise they did not like it one bit.[Link]
I wonder what he is trying to explain here. Our press is free because it is justifiable to take them to court when they refuse to publish a reply from the govt? Anyway the Press Freedom Index ranking shows relative freedom, just because he thinks that govt move to sue the media is justifiable does not make our press more free because most of the 143 countries rank above Singapore don't have to worry about the govt suing the press.
This year, we have behaved better – so we moved up to Rank 133. Below Kenya (which saw riots following a disputed election), and Congo (which continues to struggle with the aftermath of an armed conflict that has claimed more than 5m lives), Venezuela, and so on. But we are ranked above North Korea and Eritrea. - Shanumgam[Link]
Is the minister saying we shouldn't rank below Congo and Kenya on press freedom because these countries are unstable? The ranking is for press freedom not social stability!
These are all countries which are trying to progress. My point is not that we are in any way inherently superior to them – the question is whether a truly objective assessment will give us such a ranking. Our approach has therefore to been to ignore the criticisms which make no sense – and we continue to do better. The people of Singapore also know better. Sixty-five per cent voted for the Government at the last General Elections. And the investors who put in billions every year know better as well. They do not have to come here. We do not have any natural resources. Our main selling point is that there will be good value added when they invest here, their investments will be protected, and that we are a stable democracy.
Yes, yes...Singapore is rich, attracts money from all over the world and the PAP govt gets 65% of the votes counted....and so on. But what has this got to do with Press Freedom Index? China attracts trillions in investmenst does that means its press is free? The last I remember it is still a communist country.
I'm really scratching my head to figure out what in his speech[Link] justified the remark that the Press Freedom Index is "absurd and divorced from reality".
Our approach on press reporting is simple: The press can criticize us, our policies. We do not seek to condemn that
Remeber this guy called Mr.Brown? He used to write a column for Today. He lost his column [Link]after he wrote this article "S'poreans are fedup with Progress!"[Link]. That is a good measure of the level of press freedom in Singapore. Mr. Brown had other talents and sources of income so he was perhaps less fearful when he wrote that article in Today. Imagine that you're a full time journalist whose family depend on your income, what kind of articles will you write?