‘Our conscience is clear’, says Lianhe Zaobao editor…

Posted on 29 May 2012

… in a rebuttal to Low Thia Khiang’s assertion that the mainstream press are political thugs for the PAP.

This is a translation (stolen from the ever lovely Chong Zi Liang’s Facebook note) of the original article published in Lianhe Zaobao on May 28, 2012.

Hey hey, looking like a winner there...

Don’t treat the mainstream media as a target board

By Lianhe Zaobao Editor

This by-election has been full of surprises, as WP sec-gen Low Thia Khiang puts it, but with the final surprise coming from the man himself.

He chose to lash out at the media at his party’s post-by-election press conference, where he painted the entire mainstream press as the perpetrators of sneak attacks and playing the role of political thugs for the PAP.

These are serious allegations.

More importantly, he made these remarks by reading them out from prepared statements both in English and Chinese.

Simply put, he opened his broadside on the mainstream media after careful consideration.

Lianhe Zaobao was not in the two examples he raised in his answers to reporters’ follow-up questions.

But it is clear Low Thia Khiang meant that Lianhe Zaobao was one of the political thugs. He said that “the mainstream media published stories based on anonymous emails without first establishing the identity of Secret Squirrel”, and Lianhe Zaobao was the first to report on these anonymous emails.

Although Low later clarified that Lianhe Zaobao’s reporting during the election was fair at the WP’s victory parade the next day, the damage has been done.

As Lianhe Zaobao’s chief editor and as a newsman, I cannot accept Mr Low’s baseless allegations.

On May 21 (Monday), WP candidate Png Eng Huat said in a televised interview that he objected to the NCMP scheme. And he requested the WP CEC remove his name from the NCMP ballot. Zaobao also received his elaboration later on why he was not picked to be an NCMP.

But at 10-plus that night, we received the Secret Squirrel email that had the WP meeting minutes attached. The minutes indicated that Png received one vote for NCMP. This contradicted what he had said to television cameras earlier.

Our reporters carried out their professional duties in chasing this story even though it was late in the night.

Of course, this involved speaking to the WP spokesman but the WP’s designated media contact was uncontactable.

It was past midnight that WP chairman Sylvia Lim got back to us saying the party would only reply to the media queries the next day.

We decided to publish the story that day based on the information gathered because our experience in the news industry tells us that the minutes were authentic.

Throughout this incident, we were not plotting to sabotage the WP.

Our journalists investigated and reported on this episode with an attitude of utmost professionalism. We felt that readers had the right to know of this latest development.

As for the question of which party benefited from this development, it is not within the scope of this newspaper’s consideration.

Our focus was also not on whether the WP would respond and how they would respond, or whether their response would convince voters.

As a news outlet, we simply had to ensure that if the WP did respond, we would report that factually. And indeed, we did just that on the page 1 of May 23 (Wednesday), where we carried Low’s and Png’s responses.

Why did someone choose to expose these affairs anonymously at this juncture? Will the WP launch an internal investigation? These questions should be transparently accounted for to the voters.

But the WP chose not to answer directly and instead chose to make the mainstream media its target board. These are irresponsible and unfair accusations.

From the start of the campaign to the interviews of both candidates to the reporting of the thank-you parades of the victor and loser, Zaobao’s reporters adhered to the principles of professionalism, fairness and independence.

Our conscience is clear when facing our readers.

This post was written by:

- who has written 2685 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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  • sun xu’s dogs?!

    conscience is often in conflcit with money as money$ often lies in a pack of lies.

    whatever it is,WP or PAP,does it matters so long as anyone of them or even the others could come and rescue all JOBLESS N IMPOVERISHED SGPOREANS and the weak and elderly ‘DOGS’ here.

    what’s the use of the RICH MAN telling his FAITHFUL SERVANTS who have served LOYALLY that he is about to be a ZILIONAIRE when his servants are asked to accept low wages or NO WAGE as they have to GIVE UP THEIR JOBS so that the MSTER could bring in his favourite FOREIGN PLAYTHING?

    WHAT THE HECK,why are MSM so busy defending their face-value when they refuse to surface and do justice to the ‘VALUE’ OF OUR SG CITIZENSHIPS????

  • Andy

    you can explained and justified until “the cows come home”…….i still think that you are but a PAP ‘running dog”…….

  • Swleow56

    Credible news outlets understand the importance of fair attribution and the acknowledgement of another’s work. That is basic integrity, no? So what strikes me most about this post is that the writer (with the approval of the editor) has stolen another person’s translated work, post it online without attribution, didn’t bother to change a single word, and admits to it being stolen.