Thursday, September 10, 2009

Be Warned but Don't Be Fooled

Some thoughts on Minister Lui's remarks during a dialogue at Singapore Press Club.

While the MSM in media will likely, and for the foreseeable future, maintained its position as the dominant source of information, it no longer holds the monopoly in truth and breadth of coverage.

Bloggers and alternative new media sources have never set out to replace the MSM role and neither has anyone set out to conduct themselves as the pure adversary seeking to undermine the integrity and public confidence in public institutions; although they are often viewed and portrayed as such.

Minister Lui’s comments are not earth shattering as we have always understood the Government’s unease with regards to alternative and unregulated media. But they are nonetheless disappointing and betray a continued unease in dealing with dissident voices.

The fact that they were uttered by the acting - and no doubt future - Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, demonstrate a heavy lack of enlightenment and does not bode well for the maturity of the new media sector in Singapore.

It probably is also timed to forewarn that during the impending general elections, a light touch approach and easily be calibrated into a crushing hammer response in the defense of national interests.

So be warned but don't be fooled.


Singapore's mainstream media holds ground as dominant source of info
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 09 September 2009

SINGAPORE: Singapore's mainstream media continues to hold its ground as the dominant source of information, despite developments in the new media scene.

That's the view of Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts. He was speaking during a dialogue with members of the Singapore Press Club on Wednesday.

Keeping up with developments in the new media scene is an on-going challenge, especially with websites emerging daily, said Rear-Admiral(NS) Lui.

He said: "I certainly don't have an army to go and ask who all these people are; they use pseudonyms and are largely anonymous, and may they remain that way.

"There were only three occasions when the police had to step in to take action because the racial remarks that were made were so inflammatory that the police had to come in."

Despite the speed with which websites mushroom, RADM(NS) Lui said surveys showed that Singapore's mainstream media remains the preferred choice. In fact, the Nielsen Media Index of 2008 showed that 75% of people polled selected newspapers as their preferred source of news.

RADM(NS) Lui said: "Unlike some foreign newspapers, the media here in Singapore has not gone for aggressive journalism; they have not gone for aggressive campaigning. They have taken the position that they will investigate thoroughly before they publish.

"If there are good grounds for them to take a certain position, which may be detrimental to the interests of an establishment or an institution, they are prepared to do so and they do so from a point of view of responsibility."

But RADM(NS) Lui added that the established media cannot escape the speed and immediacy of the new media.

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