The Straits Times Editor, Han Fook Kwang, responded to this letter I sent about giving me a choice to suspend my subscription to ST during the General Elections period in Singapore.
I responded to the ST Editor a few weeks later to express my reservations about ST's ability to report things fairly.
EXTRACT OF REPLY FROM ST EDITOR ON RECEIVED ON 31 MARCH 2011
I'm sorry you've found our political reporting less than objective. Of course, I beg to differ. We've reported both the ruling party's and the opposition parties' activities as and when they happen. That's how we view our job - keeping readers informed of what's happening on the ground. We keep our news reporting objective, and we do not allow our own personal biases to influence the objectivity of our news reports. In this particular case of reporting on the run up to the General Election, the news so far on several days has been dominated by the introduction of the PAP's candidates. The opposition parties have not formally introduced theirs.
As for you suggestion, I'm afraid it can't be done. No newspaper I know offers this to its readers.
RESPONSE TO ST EDITOR ON 24 APRIL 2011
I delayed responding to your e-mail for a while because I wanted to give The Straits Times an opportunity to show that it is being fair.
I accept you are covering the opposition parties more now than previously. But that is still far from providing a fair playing field.
For example, you talk about introduction of PAP candidates in your reply. Your team dedicated one report for every PAP candidate that was introduced. The same has not been extended to candidates introduced by the opposition parties.
Perhaps, it is because there are other more important things to report or that your majority readership does not want to read about such alternatives, which brings me to my next point.
I accept that you do not allow personal biases to interfere with how matters are reported. But there is an editorial bias, which must favour the PAP.
I also do not dispute why you have to support the PAP. Your team has been very transparent and said so clearly. As a supporter of my current PAP MP, I should encourage it too.
It is part of your duty to your shareholders since several shareholders of the Singapore Press Holdings are key supporters of the PAP. If you don’t do so, you may get a call from PAP supporters - not necessarily such shareholders - and it will put you in a very difficult place. Your newspaper’s loyalty must therefore lie with those that fund your pay-masters.
However, I cannot accept such a state of affairs as your reader, since I expect you as a newspaper to be fair. In such a situation, you should give readers like me the option of not reading your propaganda-driven reports.
You allow your readers, for example, to suspend their subscriptions temporarily when these readers go away. I cannot see why this flexibility cannot be extended further to cover the elections period.
Please allow readers like me to do so.
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this?