Sunday, November 30, 2008

Victory in Court, Our Court

It's now official, the Wall Street Journal is now one of the best financial newspapers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific Region. The journal, which has traditionally been regarded by people in business as one of the best newspapers on the subject has now been lablled a "Repeat Offender" in efforts to malign the "integrity" of the Singapore judiciary. The case against the journal was lead by no less a distinguished person than the Attorney-General, Mr Walter Woon. In the end, the Singaporean government emerged triuphant in its own courts against a dastardly Western medium that had waged a "30-Year Campaign" against the Singapore government. The Journal was finned some S$25,000. 

Personally, I think S$25,000 is a relatively good price to pay, especially when you know the end result is a vindication of your credibility. The Journal had the audacity to do something irresponsible - it printed out a criticism of the Singapore judiciary by the International Bar Association (IBA), and then it printed out the rebutal from the Government. If I'm not wrong, the Journal also had the audacity to print a letter by Ball-in-Chief, Chee Soon Juan and the rebutal by the Singapore government. This was, I suppose iresponsible Western journalism at its worst.

In Singapore, we don't go for this type of journalism. It's simply a waste of time to print or broadcast anything that may have two sides to it and so, we concentrate on something else - making money and boy have our local papers been good at it. As newspapers around the world fade into irrelevance thanks to drying advertising revenue, Singapore's newspapers, lead by the National Paper, the Straits Times, have been booming. Singapore Press Holdings, protected by its duopoly in the print medium, controls some 40 percent of all money spent on advertising space in the land. 

How has the newspaper business thrived in Singapore? It has done so by a very clever two prongged strategy. Both Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and MediaCorp have defended their duopoly of the Singapore media scene with great vigour - constantly siting that they're profits are high, unlike the days when there was competition (never mind the fact that the consumers had a choice - they're only ordinary Singaporeans.)

The other strategy was summed up by a senior journalist that I often see in one of my favourite pubs. When I asked him how life was in Special Projects, he replied, "Great, we're making all the money - NEWS is nothing." When I tried to say something about NEWS being less impostant than advertising in a NEWSpaper, he replied,"Of course." (He was quite indignant that I was suggesting otherwise.)  

So there you have it. Singapore has a model of journalism that is responsible (as opposed to Western Media.) NEWS in a NEWSpaper is not a priority at all - no wonder why I read the wire services everyday. 

1 comment:

wincent said...

Hey when you get the opportunity, you should also visit the other singapore tourist attractions . What you have visited might have been good, but there are still a couple more attractions you can visit. The zoo, birdpark etc..