Thursday, May 9, 2013

Press Freedom Update

The latest 2013 World Press Freedom Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders dispensed with weightage of dramatic political developments, focusing instead on the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term.

Finland, the Netherlands and Norway are sitting pretty on top of the pile because they had distinguished themselves as countries that actually respect media freedom.

The real bad guys are Somalia (175th, -11), Syria (176th, 0), Mexico (153rd, -4) and Pakistan (159th, -8), places where journalists and netizens do get physically killed in the course of practising their craft. 2012 was apparently the deadliest ever registered by Reporters Without Borders in its annual roundup. Tanzania (70th,-36) sank more than 30 places because a journalist was shot while covering a demonstration and another was murdered within 4 months.

Burma (151st, +18) has gotten out of its rut in the bottom 15, where it lingered every single year since 2002, probably because the generals stopped gunning down monks in Saffron robes. The enlightened approach to Aung San Suu Kyi and the sincere attempts at reforms must be paying off.

No violence was inflicted on journalists in Singapore, unless someone wants to make a hullabaloo out of the loss of tenure for one academic. Compared to what happened at Tahrir Square, the outing at Hong Lim green was a walk in the park. Even the 200+ Malaysians who defied local laws to stage an illegal assembly near the perennially puking Merlion were treated with kid gloves.

Murder and public mayhem can't be reason for Singapore's ranking dropping 14 points from 135th to 149th.  One clue was Japan (53rd, -31) tumbling down the chart because of censorship of nuclear industry coverage and its failure to reform the “kisha club” system.  A kisha club (記者クラブ kisha kurabu) is a chubby Japanese news-gathering association of reporters that limits access by domestic magazines and the foreign media, as well as freelance reporters, to press conferences. Also, Argentina (54th, -7) fell amid reports of a new law regulating the broadcast media. So, was it self censorship or impending threats of muscling the social media, cartoons included, that gave the little red dot a rotund black eye? Imagine, if the Sticker Lady had printed "Press For Freedom" instead of "Press Until Shiok" on her labels, she could have been clasped in irons instead of being slapped with 240 hours of community service.


  1. >>slapped with 240 hours of community service.
    Like walking behind Xiao Hei, or Blackie with Shitty Times to collect poo?

  2. One has to only look at the hatchet job done on Nizam in Berita Harian to see why the MSM here is ranked so low. Anyone who believes that BH writers dug up all that personal dirt on the man should have their brains examined.

    From the ferocity of the press attack, Nizam obviously had clout, spoke sense and promised to be rather good if he had been allowed to continue with his quest. Hope he has the courage to persist. After all, the worst is out, right? If not, he should try and flush it out, so he can move forward freely from there.

    1. Unfortunately, being highly educated does not correlate with being smart. Most Singaporeans are still quite susceptible to lies or distorted truths perpetuated by the media.

  3. The answer to the last questionnaire is tricky, both applies.

    "Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense -- the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen" - William E. Borah

    On another dimension, a relevant note,

    "We shall wait and see what response AHTC gets.
    Nonetheless, the “critical question of how the public interest was served” by
    selling off the computer system to a PAP-owned company is not the only question.
    A quick look at a few town councils’ financial reports raise some very troubling
    questions too about costs.
    How much is spent annually on ‘computer services’?
    A glance at four town councils’ annual financial reports reveals large sums of
    money spent on computer services. The four town councils were chosen at random."


    Section 5(2)

    Disclosure of interest by members

    12.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), if a member has a pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any contract, proposed contract or other matter which is before any meeting of the Office, he shall at that meeting declare the nature of his interest and shall not take part in the consideration or discussion of, or vote on any question with respect to, that contract or other matter, and if the Chairman or the person presiding at that meeting so directs, he shall withdraw from the meeting during the consideration or discussion.

    (2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1), a general notice given to the members by a member to the effect that he is an officer or member of a specified corporation or a member of a specified firm and is to be regarded as interested in any contract which may, after the date of the notice, be made with that corporation or firm shall be deemed to be a sufficient declaration of interest in relation to any contract so made if it specifies the nature and extent of his interest in the specified corporation or firm and his interest is not different in nature or greater in extent than the nature or extent so specified in the general notice at the time any contract is so made.

    (3) No notice under sub-paragraph (2) shall be of effect unless either it is given at a meeting of the Office or the member takes reasonable steps to ensure that it is brought up and read at the next meeting of the Office after it is given.
    (4) For the purpose of this paragraph, a pecuniary interest of any spouse, parent, son or adopted son, or daughter or adopted daughter, of a member shall be presumed to be a pecuniary interest of the member.
    (5) For the purpose of determining whether there is a quorum, a member shall be treated as being present notwithstanding that, under this paragraph, he cannot vote or has withdrawn from the meeting.

  4. Press freedom ?

    What for ? For what ?

    What good is press freedom if there are no jobs, if your currency is fiat, if your country is bankrupt and people no jobs no business no money ?

    Look around, the country is bustling, malls bursting, people spending, restaurants are full, what more do you want ?

    1. “The benefits of democracy must lead to economic development and help reduce poverty – to improve the quality of life of ordinary people,” said Jacob G. Zuma, President of South Africa at the 2010 World Economic Forum on Africa..
      “You can’t eat democracy,” he added.

    2. Looking around, you will see these real problems:

      1. public transport not coping
      2. housing getting less affordable
      3. polyclinics getting too crowded
      4. hospital beds not sufficient
      5. more diseases (e.g. TB, Chikungunya)
      6. more accidents
      7. more flooding
      8. more discrimination against employing locals
      9. more FTs employing FTs
      10. less places for rejuvenating

      What other problems do you want?

  5. You miss out an important reason - the issuing of iconic legal letters against netizens as a form of public engagement by the govt.

  6. Re-
    AIM – Govt related party transaction exempt from reporting
    ( )

    Does it mean that for AIM and TC case,........... , they are exempted from reporting related party transactions.?

    The answer is NO!, it's unconstitutional, they cannot be exempted, for the simple reason AIM Pte Ltd is not a part/body of the Government.

    Action Information Management Pte Ltd is a company wholly owned by the PAP.

    Take note the PAP's true status is only that of a political party registered under the Societies Act (CHAPTER 311) and the Constitution, a political society formed to contest in General Elections and not the Government of Singapore and not a part/body of the Government.

    MPs shall be Elected, elected MPs form the Government and Government employees are CIVIL SERVANTS.

    Organisation Structure | Parliament Of Singapore

    PA stands firm over selection of grassroots advisers - Yahoo! News Singapore

    A facetious letter from the People's Association

    Ps, unable to press ahead and post at TR EMERITUS, having cloud problem.