29 June 2007

A world without objective, impartial newspapers

The government says that it is critically important for Singapore to have mainstream media that report the facts impartially. That's why the mainstream media are regulated more tightly than cyberspace. But is it sustainable? Do blogs have historical parallels than can help illuminate what the future may hold? Full essay.


Chris said...

Oh, I wouldn't hold my breath for the Singapore government to free the press. However, I would say that newspapers in other places also have advocacy agendas. All the Media Corp newspapers toe the Murdoch line of whatever he's ranting about today. In addition, they all cross-endorce and publicise Fox TV programs, movies, and the stars of same. See the OBM columns in "Private Eye" here for lashings of examples of that from Media Corp (OBN=Order of the Brown Nose).

Blogs are still in relative infancy compared to newspapers, which are nearly 500 years old. I think we'll have to wait for a few more years before their real purpose and worth are revealed. Just become someone writes a blog, doesn mean that s/he actually knows what the blog is for.

Anonymous said...

sph and mediacorp are part of the
PR machinery of Singapore Inc; their
mission is to promote the economy
which requires a well disciplined
workforce; they cannot be the same
as the western press as long as this
mission remains

blogs are individual voices that do
not have the journalistic logistics
supported by advertising revenues;
some blogs may achieve a temporary
notoriety and attract many hits,
but in general people are more
interested in stuff like revealing
photos and tittillating stories,
like those provided by SPG last year
and Michelle Quek this year; blogs
cannot fulfil the functions of

the situation in Singapore is that
we do not have access to critical
analysis of social and political
events, because the local press
can only provide views of Singapore
Inc, while blogs are not organized
to provide this systematically -
even if a blooger is able to do it,
he/she finds it hard to keep the effort up - among other reasons, there is little good discussion from the readers and attention lapses quickly, discounraging continued effort

Robert L said...

A very perceptive article by YB.

For a good example of how a blog is developing into a newspaper, look at the Prince of blogs, Raja Petra Kamarudin - his site is Malaysia-Today dot net. His site really looks like a newspaper and I have grown to depend on him for Malaysia news more so than on their newspapers. I have a hunch this view is shared by many readers of his blog.

In Singapore, the demise of the local newspapers is completely self-generated, due to the actions of their staff and the powers that control them. It is a desert landscape that is waiting for bloggers to fill.

An anonymous above just said, "blogs are individual voices that do not have the journalistic logistics supported by advertising revenues". This is an outdated notion that needs to be revised most quickly. The dynamics of news today, as played out in the net, cannot be typecast by the same characteristics as those in yesterdays' newspapers. If you look at RPK's blog as mentioned, you'll be surprised at the amount of advertising he has collected.

Anonymous said...

I don't bother to read and buy newspapers because what they print are just praises to the government. There is no alternative view or in depth analysis.

Anonymous said...

i buy straits times only to look out for any offer whenever I need to buy anything.

Anonymous said...

that suits Singapore Inc perfectly

KiWeTO said...

Its not a monologue that the SG national newspapers offer; more like a diatribe, a lecture, and a how-to-live-and-think-like-an-ideal-singaporean

I've already lost all faith in local newspapers, and have already abstained from offering them (and Singapore,Inc) more of my limited consumer dollars.

Newspapers are partisan by the fact that they will only be bought by people who will support the professed views and opinions. Our problem is that we have a party that desires to appeal to all, and a bureaucratic corporate machinery that attempts to also appeal to all (thus appealing to none, and earning less dollars each year.)

Its also a convenient lie that our population cannot support more newspapers. Even small tiny boroughs in other cities can support a local paper with a readership of thousands. Why then uniquely Singapore?


Anonymous said...

actually, singapore has three english papers, 3 chinese, one malay and one tamil; however, there is little difference in points of view since they are all part of Singapore Inc/SPH

to be fair to SPH, the small, local papers you see in US municipalities do not offer comprehensive newspaper content, which is very expensive to provide and requires teams of journalists/columnists paid for by advertising; the competition between media units in singapore is mainly for advertising money