10 Mar 2005

Cogito (Part 2)

Approximately two months ago I posted an article that resulted in a very large number of comments. It resulted in a large amount of personal attacks and flaming. A large number felt that I was somehow insulting them personally or that I thought that all Singaporeans or in particular that students couldn't think for themselves. This was not my assertion. After reading the following I feel compelled to return to the cogito article and ask. Are you allowed to think? Are you encouraged or discouraged to think for yourself? Or are you a cultural dupe?

Forum: the Sammyboy.com's Alfresco Coffee Shop ™ Forum
Subject: A S'porean stance??? -HAVE NO OPINIONS!!
From: (LAMBASTE2)
To: (ALL)
DateTime: 09/03/2005 11:14:59

Anyone read the forum pages today Ms K Bavani press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts saying that local newspapers must carry S'ppore perspective and that the stance to adopt both in its explicit editorial lines and in the implicit point of view of its reporting - a local newspapers stance should be a Singaporean one.(How insular can you get Ms Bhavani ? how can we ever be global at this rate????)She thinks otherwise readers may be misled into thinking that foreign views (because we employ foreign reporters as well) reflects the Singaporean stance or position.( Again belittling and insulting the intelligence of readers! Then why even bother employing foreign journalist?) She ended her letter by saying that these foreign journalists and writers for the ST should not " go beyond straightforward reporting to expressing opinions on regional issues, unles they make it clear that these are views of foreign nationals...." Isn't this just so interesting coming from the ministry of "communications"? Again very instructive- what you can do... what you cannot do- report but don't have an opinion..If you have an opinion and if it is not in line with "singaporean stance" say explicit my opinion and I am foreign ..By and large always adopt Singapore stance singapore/ opinion?. One could ask" is there a general Singaporean stance or view point???" Perhaps she meant the government's stance and view points! ......
DARE WE THINK OUT OF THE BOX...OR EVEN HAVE AN OPINION!!!!!!
Did we talk about more openness and being global in outlook? sure that's a S'pore stance?

Edited 09/03/2005 13:13 ET ET by lambaste2


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9 March 2005
TODAY

GIVE BROAD AND BALANCED RANGE OF VIEWS--------------------------------------
Newspaper readers can then appreciate how different countries see the same issues

Comprehensive and objective coverage of regional issues has been one of the strengths of Singapore newspapers.

For Singapore to thrive as a cosmopolitan city state, our people must have a keen understanding of trends and developments in the region and the world, and their implications for Singapore.

Our media reports, accompanied by analytical and op-ed pieces, help them to do this.

It is important for Singapore newspapers to distinguish clearly commentaries on regional affairs that reflect non-Singaporean views both from Singaporean commentaries and from factual reports of events.

Otherwise, readers may be misled into thinking that these foreign views reflect the newspaper's Singaporean position.

This is especially as all the major Singapore newspapers employ journalists and writers from other countries, who will naturally from time to time comment on events from a foreign perspective.

Furthermore, when covering regional affairs, a Singapore newspaper should present a broad and balanced range of views, enabling readers to appreciate how different countries see the same issues.

The newspaper itself should remain detached from conflicts and disputes involving other countries but not Singapore. It should neither advance the position of another country, nor take on a foreign government as if it were itself engaged in such a dispute. Nor should it become a participant in the domestic political debate of another country.

Both in its explicit editorial line and in the implicit point of view of its reporting, its stance should be a Singaporean one.

One recent example is the editorial and two commentaries published in the Lianhe Zaobao on Feb 22, on the joint US-Japan statement identifying easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait as a common strategic objective.

The unsigned editorial was entitled "A new flashpoint in Sino-Japan relations". The two articles, "China faces US-Japan-Taiwan alliance" and "A political battle by proxy", were authored respectively by a journalist and a scholar from China.

All three were written from a PRC perspective, and took Japan and the
US to task for conspiring to constrain China.

Similarly, several years ago The Straits Times carried articles championing the cause of one South Asian country against another, written by a South Asian journalist.

The Government had to remind The Straits Times not to get embroiled in the complex disputes of the South Asian subcontinent.

We appreciate the contributions of foreign journalists and writers. They add to our talent pool of journalists and provide insights into the thinking of their compatriots.

However, when they go beyond straightforward reporting to expressing opinions on regional issues, the newspaper should make it clear that these are the views of foreign nationals and take extra care to maintain overall balance in its reporting and commentary.

K. BHAVANI (MS)
Press Secretary to the
Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts

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