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Mainstream media defies govt, keeps Lee Kuan Yew’s hospitalisation secret for 17 days only

Mainstream media defies govt, keeps Lee Kuan Yew’s hospitalisation secret for 17 days only

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They were expected to report that the ex-prime minister is healthy and will live forever.

man-behind-lee-kuan-yew

The mainstream media has proven that it has a backbone and will not be subjected to the Singapore government’s beck and call as it broke its silence by reporting the news of Lee Kuan Yew’s hospitalisation.

This after the various mainstream media in Singapore simultaneously reported on Feb. 21, 2015, that the ex-prime minister was in hospital since Feb. 5, effectively demonstrating that they had been keeping this news secret for 17 days.

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Singaporeans from all walks of life applauded the mainstream media for sticking to their guns and defying government orders of keeping the ex-prime minister’s real state of health under tight wraps, in the event any news construed to be negative might cause property prices to fall and the economy, in general, to unravel.

One media observer, Kan Xin Wen, said breaking the news after imposing a complete media blackout for more than two weeks showed that the Singapore media has made great leaps from the past: “This news of Lee Kuan Yew’s ill health after 17 days in hospital shows that the media is starting to have a mind of its own by trying to inform Singaporeans about current affairs as it happens. This is vastly different from the past, when many things happened, but no one knew anything because everyone involved was silenced.”

Another observer, Kwa Xin Boon, said she was taken aback by how timely the news was given that it was only slightly more than two weeks: “I heard a lot of rumours the past two weeks that something had happened and I did not for a second think that the mainstream media would ever pick it up and run with it.”

“They have all along been expected not to report on anything negative about Lee Kuan Yew at all. This uncharacteristic and unprecedented move on their part signals that the media is splintering away from the government and looks like they are in a defiant mood.”

The speed with which the news came out has also stunned mainstream media reporters.

Jin Hum Ji, a reporter from Singapore Press Holdings, said: “Turns out I was wrong. The Straits Times and Channel News Asia sure knows how to get the story out fast and while it is still hot.”

“If you ask me, 17 days is way too soon, because we need to bear in mind that the mainstream media is expected to report that Lee Kuan Yew will live forever.”

“This is definitely a win for press freedom. I’m sure such a practice will help boost Singapore’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index next year.”

 

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