Meaningless distinction by ST’s editor

In Media on 24/03/2018 at 9:45 am

(Alternative title “What if editor was also censor? And justifying censorship”)

Writers are “engineers of human souls”Joseph Stalin once told Soviet writers. And I’m sure our Harry would agree with him on that when it came to journalists. After all both wanted the media to be part of their constructive, nation-building endeavours.

So I can’t stop laughing when I read what Warren Fernandez (Btw, TMG’s Bertha Henson* coveted his job, something to bear in mind when reading her criticisms of ST and SPH. Where was her critical voice when she was angling for the post of ST’s editor? She was no Cherian George.) told the parliamentary Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

The ST editor said

that an “important distinction” needed to be made between the “exercising of judgment by editors, and censorship or self-censorship”.

“Before we publish anything, we would want to assure ourselves that the content we are putting out is not libelous, unfair or biased … it’s us exercising responsibility,” he said.

“We recognise it’s a duty, and we make judgment calls and we take constant feedback from many sources – newsmakers, readers, organisations … that’s the critical role a responsible media organisation would play.

“If you’re going to have a meaningful exchange and debate, you need informed decisions. It’s not a matter of every view being put out there, and have a slugfest, and expect sweetness and light to emerge.”


Well the above distinction between the role of an editor and a censor does not exist or is meaningless when the editor is chosen by a govt determined that the media be constructive, nation-building. Read Cheong Yip Seng’s, “OB Markers: My Straits Times Story” on how he became ST editor: Harry tot he “was ready” is my impression of what he was telling us. Also read how subsequent editors were choosen.



*Secret Squirrel, Morocco Mole, and ST and SPH insiders say she quit ST the day when it was announced that Warren was returning to ST to be ST’s editor. So all her criticism could be sour grapes rather than the repentance of a wannabe Seth Lord.

  1. ah…bertha instead of sumiko running ST…

    btw, why are so many bloggers anti sumiko? her column seemed to me on par with other parts of ST; were people expecting william safire?

    now lee wei ling – I still wonder how come she knew so little about SG politics; all that conversation with dad went to waste; same goes for her nephew

  2. Plenty of reason to be pro-government LOL!!

    What happens if you’re not:

    Used to know a former sub-editor, who played ball & played by the book. Upgraded step-by-step from 3-rm HDB to bungalow despite having just A-levels and some post-grad diploma subsequently. During those not-too-olden days, they used to have weekly meetings with MITA officials on OB markers, what to report on, what not to report, what to emphasise for nation building, etc.

  3. so why did the suspension of Mr Brown cause big turmoil, but the disappearance of Today free paper caused no ripple?

    I see Mano now and then at shareholder meetings, where he would ask questions about the annual report, but do not find him publishing indepth investor advice which I thought Rafflesia is about.

    I do see these recent reports

    which I assume is not profit making company business

    • Go analyse the change in public perceptions of Today on the two dates. At the end, it was ST lite. Earlier it was edgie by our low local standards.

      • the contrast may not be as meaningful as u think; I remember when M1 started offering mobile, nus computing bbs were full of comments from students who say they will switch to the new carrier – singtel was the evil empire, M1 the rebel

        btw, now that facebook has become the latest evil empire (ibm/microsoft used to have the honour; google was close, but never got there; apple, not sure), who will be the next one?

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