Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Illustrious Press Freedom topic again ....

"Responding, the minister outlined the Government's attitude: 'The most important attribute is that we want accurate reporting. Because, if the journalists are just writing fiction and are just writing glowing portraits of me that nobody believes, then it is pointless.

'Our attitude towards the press in Singapore is that they are partners in nation-building.

'Our mass media also understand our key vulnerabilities and our hopes and dreams and are, therefore, partners in their construction.

'But they are not the mouthpiece of the Government and they are not there to give a one-sided view.'" Straits Times.

Accuracy in reporting is also indicative of 'today's truth' ... the Minister went on to cite 'falsity' in the Copernican light of the Sun revolving around the Earth. These were the truth of those times when 'wise men' ruled the Earth then in Europe.

Who is to say what is true or false to the human mind when psychology plays a larger part in life then science does in most cases?

Especially when the press, under explicit admission as quoted, is involved in nation building. Is the press then to be held liable and responsible for what is today a truth and proved to be a lie tomorrow? Or vice-versa?

The issue here is accountability as well. And in my opinion it is not the journalists who ought to be taken to task. It would be the Editors and their superiors - since all pieces ultimately pass through 'editorial consent' prior to publication.

So in the case of the press in Singapore how far are operations divorced from policy making? And where does the accountability lie?

Much like out Education system of trials and errors of the past 43 years. Many have succeeded, many have suffered through the policy flip flops. Who is ultimately responsible?

The likely response will be: there can be no responsibility because wisdom changes with time ...... despite claims to 'wise men and women,' who are paid wheelbarrows of money, running the show right now. The perfect job security option! If it screws up its not my fault, if it succeeds please erect some kind of statue in my memory. This is the way forward? This is the PAP way?


To opposition supporters: if you have to, be aware of who you 'penalise' in your minds. Journalists are usually not the ultimate harbingers and controllers of 'incomplete truths.' There is a subtle difference between lying outright and simply not relating the whole truth which can stymie and psychologically affect an entire population. Thus the power of the press, which if not completely and totally free, needs to be kept in serious check.

Before this becomes a full fledged defamation law suit from SPH ..... I had better be a little paranoid and cover my behind: Numerous times accidents have been reported on scuba diving. Numerous times I have written in to the different journalists covering the stories to explain that one does not scuba dive on Oxygen tanks but Air tanks instead. The power of the press is such that today the public mind associates diving with Oxygen tanks. Which of course is utter rubbish!

FYI, Oxygen toxicity occurs at a depth of less then 10 metres of sea water if one uses Oxygen tanks to go scuba diving. One suffers from CNS convulsions which means one is not able to control one's body movements any more hence death in shallow water in this particular case. Case closed.

The press = the truth? Hardly in the example cited and if that is the case then what of other topics? Nation building role and not a government mouthpiece? You decide!

IMHO, press freedom should be curbed by the ability of journalists and editors to truly understand the situation at hand in all its complexity involving the dynamics of mass psychology before any publication is fit to print. I do not see any journalists nor editors trained in these aspects.

Vote wisely - your children depend on it!