Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Curious Case Of Mr Dorsey

He was no run-of-the-mill keyboard warrior blogger. Mr James Dorsey was a veteran journalist and freelance writer before appointed senior fellow at National Technological University (NTU)'s School of International Studies.

His blog post in July 2012 made mention of a rights agreement between Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and an associate of World Sports Group (WSG) which the Singapore based WSG has alleged to be defamatory. WSG's lawyers claim the information referred to was confidential and demanded for disclosure of the source.

Dorsey's position is that he is entitled to protect his sources as matter of principle as a journalist and produced a copy of the Singapore National Union of Journalists' Code of Professional Conduct to support his argument.

But judge Judith Prakash ruled that Dorsey was not a journalist at the time of posting but an employee of NTU. "In any event," she said, "there is no newspaper rule in Singapore that operates to protect a journalist's sources from being disclosed. Instead, the court adopts a balancing-of-interests approach." We saw how this "balancing-of-interests" approach was acted out when the challenge to the constitutionality of Section 377A was dismissed recently. In his 92-page judgment, Justice Quentin Loh had said that in Singapore's legal system, whether a social norm that has "yet to gain currency" should be discarded or retained is decided by Parliament. In other words, Parliament 1, Courts 0.

Watergate's follow-the-money team, Woodward and Bernstein, would have been easily stonewalled in  Singapore. No wonder Bromptongate had to be cracked by netizens, not our poor hamstrung mainstream journalists. Don't expect them to come through with similar journalistic revelations for AIMgate.

28 comments:

  1. With a newspaper ranking of 150. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes! I do think that we have lousy journalistic standards, much akin to North Korea mass media's.
      Both jurisdictions claim to be "democratic", no ?

      Delete
  2. If he refuse to comply, will he be slapped with a charge far beyond defamation which he already indicated to accept? Whose interest is the court balancing?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This FT ang mo EX-journalist thinks that he can come here get employment with NTU and continue to write what he wants as a ex-reporter is sorely mistaken. I FULLY SUPPORT the judgement. If one wants to allege someone he better be ready to reveal his sources otherwise there will be no end to all these slanderings.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The elephant in the room is the truth.

    Is James Dorsey telling the truth.
    If yes - why punish someone for speaking the truth?
    Unless this is a dirty little secret you want to hide.

    ReplyDelete
  5. He is not being punished. He is merely asked to justify what he has written. So that we know what he has written is the truth and not his imagination. Fair request. Unless of course you think any foreign ex-journalist can come here write anything he wants with no justification.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " ... write anything he wants with no justification."

      You mean it's like jail or sue anyone without any justification?

      Delete
  6. Information cannot be called "confidential" unless it was true. Has anyone ever heard of cock and bull stories and gossips being classified as "confidential"? Now if it was true, then how can it be "defamatory"? I must admit this is right up there with the CSK's "within 200m of a building does not include inside the building" crooked logic. Either they have all bent low to suck up yo businesses, or the education system stopped teaching budding lawyers logic 3 decades ago?

    ReplyDelete
  7. The WSG is not disputing what this NTU fellow wrote is the truth. They are trying to find out who spilt the beans, since the info is supposed to confidential.

    When journalists Have to reveal their sources, you can be sure there will be few if any whistle blowers.

    As such, we will NEVER find out how much we have in our reserves, how much it costs to build HDB flats, and what the actual breakdown of the popn of the country at any point of time actually is -
    unless the govt has the guts to tell us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wah!
      Does this mean that in Singapore, we can go to jail for telling the truth?

      TEO - What do you think?

      Delete
  8. To reveal something that is confidential without authorisation is even worse. Can you imagine journalists writing defence secrets ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Singapore defence secrets?

      If anybody/country wants to invade Singapore ... just apply for a work permit, employment pass, PR or citizenship.
      We are still about 1.5 million short of the target of 6.9 million.

      No need to waste time stealing our (ha! ha!) defence secrets.
      Nobody wants to know the secret of our ability to defend against Mas Selamat.

      Delete
  9. Wah, likedat those SCDF and CNB chiefs and assortment of CPIB officers under probe can plead "confidentiality" and sue the garment for revealing their sex lives to the public can or cannot har? Sex lives of top people are confidential right? What do u think troll?

    ReplyDelete
  10. He is a FT and he is no longer a journalist. He is now employed by a reputable institution so he has to be mindful of what he says, not utter something serious about another organisation and says "cannot reveal source. If like that can then any tom dick can utter anything against anybody or any institution and just hide behind cannot reveal source thingy.

    What do you think ? You like it, right ? The messier the better.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Will Dorsey end up like Christopher Lingle, once a Senior Fellow in the European Studies Program, National University of Singapore (September 1993 to November 1994), who was prosecuted, convicted for libel, fined $70000, and sentenced to jail in absentia in 1994, for saying that some East Asian governments, the Singapore one included by implication, relied on a "compliant judiciary to bankrupt opposition politicians"?
    Maybe not, not if Dorsey has been accepted as a foreign talent, i.e. granted PR and/or citizenship.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Who cares if Dorsey end up like Lingle ? You care for them? You care for these people who can come here utter nonsense, quote other people, and say cannot reveal sources?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course we care.
      Did you lie when you pledged every morning "To build a democratic society, based on justice & equality?"

      Liar, liar,
      Pants on fire?

      Delete
    2. Democratic society doesn't mean allegations and accusations without proof or evidence, or quoting someone or revealing classified information and but refuse to reveal the source.

      That is not democratic society based on justice and equality.

      Delete
  13. Dorsey's only mistake/problem.
    He did not apply to become a card carrying member of the Pro Alien Party.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Maybe you should help fund Dorsey's lawsuit and his accommodation in Singapore. Birds of same feather can flock together.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Anonymous 4/18/2013 8:42 AM
    QUOTE:
    What do you think ? You like it, right ? The messier the better.
    UNQUOTE

    Democracy and justice are inherently messy.

    You want efficiency?
    Clear cut rules decided by one man-emperor?

    Go to North Korea.

    ReplyDelete
  16. There's a say....

    For what shall it porfit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nobody is losing his soul. Nobody is profiting anything.

    What matters is a man's word must stand up to scrutiny. Otherwise it is nothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A man's word must stand up to scrutiny?

      How about 'this flood is a once in 50 year's event?"

      Pigs who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

      Delete
  18. Confidential secrets should be revealed if it serves the greater good.

    e.g. A food manufacturer is making food that is not safe for human consumption.
    Society should applaud and encourage employees who make such confidential information public.
    Secrecy in such a case would harm public interest.
    And protect the law breaker.

    Does James Dorsey's case fall into this description?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Talking about letting go, they wouldn't even want to give up his MP seat even though he is not performing his duties as what a full MP should. How the hell did PAP allow such a shortchange to happen really goes beyond anybody's wisdom?

    Some of them even had the guts to question the performance of opposition MPs when in their own backyard they can allow such a MP to shortchange his constituents by not even taking the trouble to attend any meet the people sessions. Supposing LTK or CSM or SL bochap also, what would one think Pap would resort to?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are "deaf to all criticisms" and blind to all their shortcomings and hypocrisies.

      Delete
  20. The more they act against normal, usual and logical practices, the more they appear to be perverting reasonableness, integrity and propriety. They are attracting attentions with the wrong reason.

    Where is the sensibility?

    ReplyDelete