11 February 2007

Mismeasuring the press

Kishore Mahbubani said even in the West, there are OB markers and limits to press freedom, thus suggesting that press freedom rankings are meaningless. Full essay.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, would we believe in the Western health rankings that our healthcare ranks slightly above that of Somalia? Even when we are rated fairly highly, they would still want to showcase the (white) Swedish model. I would not take the Western media ranking which likes to portray the non-white world as being backward so seriously.

The good part of the Singapore media is its ability to first explain government policies clearly before commenting on it. If you read the Western papers, you would have little idea of the modus operandi of public policies. Yes. the sg media is slightly more paternalistic, carrying out exhortations by the state to upgrade and be employable.

I generally find our English language papers to be of rather mediocre in terms of content and expression. But,we must remind ourselves that it is the mainstream, which makes reading your blog so much more refreshing.

Kai Khiun

Anonymous said...

Mahdubany's speech is shallow, self-congratulatory and "reductive" as you call it. It is an insult to people's intelligence. To call him an elite is an abuse of the word because he is not fit to be one.

Anonymous said...

no doubt there are restrictions everywhere; the intesting question is who decide; here we all know who; in the west the answer is more complex and the impact of the restrictions is different

kyshore's comment is along the same line as "temasek operates according to commercial practice"; it might be true, but see what happened in thailand... like a bikini, what it reveals is OK, what it does not reveal is vital

i love white people said...

I think that Kai Khiun's comment above is absurd. Either he thinks white people are racists always out to make us look bad or he thinks that they are unable to objectively rank press freedom. What racist-like agenda could they possibly have by ranking Singapore low? Are they somehow more racist towards North Koreans? And what about Japan which is ahead of a few "white" countries? They aren't white.

By saying that the Singapore media has a "good part", i.e. its ability to explain government policies clearly, is he claiming that Western papers do not explain their governments' policies clearly? The racist white ones, is it?

C'mon, we're not a colony now, and a half century later we can't continue to blame the white people for our problems, or claim that they are just racists portraying us as "backward" when they dare comment on our laughing-stock press.

I don't care about the race of the person who ranks our press low. I am able to examine their methodology and judge whether it was carried out objectively. Evidently, Kai Khiun sees that "white" people carried out the rankings and immediately dismissed it. Perhaps Singaporeans should do the rankings instead. Or, perhaps the Straits Times journalists themselves could do the rankings. Then we will have rankings that we can trust!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I want to add to what Kai ....uuups... Anonymus said: I am a localized FT, hence incapable of reading Mandarin papers or understanding Channel 8. My wife and many of my colleagues can. I feel more discriminated by this obvious discrepancy than by any other thing in this country... Is it really that the English "Media" are more .. say tamed .. than the Chinese? (someone suggested to use the term "Medium" in Singapore instead, as all is censored and streamlined, hence singular should be used).

Is that an outright policy, or just accidental, or how? Shouldn't people speaking different languages be able to access the same, or at least similar, information, in our soooo-special multiracial island?

I find the point brought up by K..eahh..anonymus really good, yet disagree a bit with his assumption tha the "Western Media" do not care to discern between explaining official policies and commenting on them. Where I come from (some anonymus big country in Europe), they do quite clearly, and you can see the parliament debate uncensored live in TV and read the decision clearly soon ater. The Media print all this, and also comment on it which is then called "commentary". No problem with that!

By the way, I never liked the word "Western" media, or "Western" democracy. Do we imply that Australia or Japan have some special democracy or Media, both much more liberal but East of Singapore? (There are more examples of this, Taiwan, South Korean etc). This is one of those conditioned no-brainer buzz-words, "The Western Media" that became common Singlish. Democracy is a invention of the "West" and not the Orient, as simple as that.

Clearly these are tautologies in the spirit of "free gifts" and "new inventions"... or has anyone heard of "Eastern Democracy"?!

Anonymus

Anonymous said...

i love white people said: "Perhaps Singaporeans should do the rankings instead. Or, perhaps the Straits Times journalists themselves could do the rankings. Then we will have rankings that we can trust!"

Yeah and see what happens... The Get Real programme "50-dollar men" which featured plight of foreign workers selling themselves for just 50 dollars in Little India won the "News Story of the Year" award at this year's MediaCorp News Awards...

Dee/Yuri said...

To anonymous from 12 February, 2007 00:15, a comment from an Asian(Excuse me if my definition of democracy is off):

Countless rulers have risen and fallen in all of history. What we know of their reign has been gathered from preserved records, artifacts and various remnants uncovered. And even that information is not always accurate for what we uncover often alters our perceptions and knowledge of history and our ancestors. Yet much has been lost.

It IS known though, that at least 500 to 1000 years ago in China, there existed certain states or kingdoms where women could enjoy rights like men. In some of these places, their rights were almost or completely equal to a man's rights, in others, they were not.

This much we know: Women often held ranks in the military and government, they could own a horse, a house and a piece of land and they could even divorce their husbands. They often had multiple lovers and some even attained the reign of ruler.

And the people were often free to say and do what they liked, what they wanted without interference from the government or ruler. If they disliked a certain rule, they could petition to the local magistrate which would in turn submit the complaints to the ruler.

(Under matriarchal rule, men were sometimes considered inferior to women. They enjoyed limited rights, certain languages or dialects were denied to them. Nor could they move beyond certain ranks in the military and government. Yet, in other states or kingdoms of matriarchal rule, men also enjoyed equal rights to women.)

Ultimately, most freedom for women(and even people) vanished once China shifted towards a patriarchal society and when only certain schools of thoughts permitted. Rights were revoked, historical records rewritten, genders of historical prominent figures altered and other measures were taken to maintain the illusion of a "Confuciunist patriarchal society which had dominated China in all its' history" which still holds to this day.