Yawning Bread has written a post that rips into a Straits Times article about the submission of a memorandum of protest by two Malaysian NGOs to the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
It reminded me of the following from Francis Seow’s 1998 book, Media Enthralled: Singapore Revisited…..
Shortly after his return from an ambassadorial stint in France, Singapore’s first chief minister, David Saul Marshall, wrote a letter to the editor of the Straits Times challenging the need for the death penalty, and questioning its “effectiveness” in Singapore. Marshall had always been against the death penalty. The editor refused to publish the letter on the feeble pretext that “it did not sponsor petitions and there was no evidence death row was overcrowded.”
Outraged at this insouciance, Marshall remonstrated: “Where do we go to express our differences of views if we are not allowed to hold meetings or write to the press?”
And, at a public forum, amplified his grievance at the suppression of his letter, by labelling the Straits Times as “either PAP wallahs or bootlickers” and local journalists as “pathetic [who] were only concerned about their own survival. They are running dogs of the PAP and poor prostitutes.”
At first blush, the statement seemed rather intemperate, but, given the uncritical appreciation of official policies and fawning posture it adopts to officialdom, it is a well-deserved judgment.
Of course, its not only the Straits Times but the local news media as a whole that is infected with the uncritical appreciation of official policies and fawning posture it adopts to officialdom.