July 14, 2006

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At least we're not Singapore part 237,402

While it's easy to get carried away with the lamentable state of media in Hong Kong, we must always remember one thing: at least we're not in Singapore. Mr Brown is a popular Singaporean blogger and newspaper columnist. He's been writing for over 10 years. A week ago he wrote a seemingly linnocuous column titled Singaporeans are fed, up with progress! A humourless government press secretary then writes to the paper where the article appears accusing Mr Brown of sarcasm and distorting the truth (which is the point of sarcasm, but never mind) and of "exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing". So what does the newspaper do? It fires Mr Brown. Today is owned by Singapore Press Holdings, which is partly owned by Temasek, the Government holding company. From Wikipedia on SPH:

Shares in SPH are regulated by the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act of 1974, which requires all newspapers to be publicly listed into both ordinary and management shares, with management shares having 200 times the voting rights of ordinary shares and approval from the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts needed for any management share transfers. Past chairpersons of Singapore Press Holdings have all been civil servants, with notably strong links to Singapore's secret police, the Internal Security Department. SPH's current executive president Tjong Yik Min served as the head of the ISD from 1986 to 1993.
Needless to say, the humourless public servant mentioned above is the Minister of Information, Communication and The Arts' press secretary.

Cue Hemlock's Why Singapore is a pathetic place. As if to prove the notion, here's an excerpt from Mr Brown's post linking to Hemlock's piece:

After speaking to a lawyer, I decided to pull this [post], no point getting sued for someone else's rants. Singapore's defamation laws are very powderful and I am just a little guy.

posted by Simon on 07.14.06 at 02:47 PM in the Singapore category.


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TODAY is not owned by SPH. It is owned by the other player called Mediacorp.

posted by: sgn on 07.14.06 at 02:52 PM [permalink]

Well the Wikipedia article says:

In 2004, Streats was merged into Today as a result of SPH and MediaCorp merging their television and free newspaper operations. As part of the deal, Today continues to be published by MediaCorp independent of SPH, but it incorporates the Streats name on its masthead.
The SPH press release says:
MediaCorp will retain a 60 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which will continue to publish TODAY. It will sell the remaining 40 per cent share to SPH at a consideration of S$19.16 million.

Upon legal completion, SPH will merge its free newspaper, STREATS, with TODAY. TODAY will then incorporate the STREATS name in its masthead and it will continue to be managed by MediaCorp. It will operate independently of the stable of newspapers under SPH.SPH owns 40% of TODAY even if MediaCoprp operates "independently" of SPH papers.

posted by: Simon on 07.14.06 at 04:51 PM [permalink]

It doesn't really matter who owns what because it is all controlled by Temasek Holdings, which is the main investment company of the Singaporean government. Temasek is run by Ho Ching, who just happens to be the wife of Lee Hsien Loong, the current PM of Singapore.

posted by: Chris on 07.14.06 at 08:35 PM [permalink]

Ther's a complete loss of fredom of spech. Mr. Brown is lucky enough to be only fired and not detained like the bloggers Alaa, Hao Wu and al-sharqawi.

posted by: Paul on 07.18.06 at 01:51 PM [permalink]

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