Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Unconvincing & Confusing Straits Times Price Hike

Early this year, The Straits Times increased its price. Among the four key justifications it gave was that it was not able to absorb rising costs.

Many readers accepted this argument. Some readers, like me, chose not to buy Straits Times on certain days. A few readers even boycotted the newspaper.

The thinking reader then was not convinced.

Shortly after the price hike, Singapore Press Holdings gave out $1.8 billion in special dividends to its shareholders.

10 months on and what happened?

One finds a facelift for The Straits Times. Oh yes, with glossy supplements too!

Was the price increase an attempt to tackle rising costs or merely an opportunity to raise more funds for The Straits Times to spend?

The Straits Times has also made it more difficult for users to access its website.

The reader - even though he or she may well be a subscriber - now needs to sign in to get the information he or she wants.

Such moves by The Straits Times – a national newspaper – do not fit with a Singapore that is committed to providing its citizens better access to information.

The thinking reader is now confused.

Dharmendra Yadav

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