Disciplinary actions have been taken by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) on two senior editors in The Straits Times (ST), following findings by a Committee of Inquiry (COI) regarding an alleged affair with an intern.
Earlier on Wednesday, TOC broke the story of Marc Lim, who was appointed as news editor in Sep 2016, being demoted due to the alleged affair.
Mr Lim, 42, is married, with two children. Among his key duties is to oversee Singapore news coverage across print and digital platforms.
Prior to being a news editor, Mr Lim was the sports editor and the assistant news editor.
TOC understands that Mr Lim has been removed from editorial functions, and will no longer hold supervisory roles in his current capacity, in addition to being demoted two levels as a result of the COI investigation.
According to sources, ST’s Social Media Editor, Daryl Chin is allegedly the other senior editor who is involved with the intern.
Mr Chin has been with SPH for almost 12 years, starting as a content producer in Apr 2007 until Aug the following year.
He had then taken on the role of a multimedia journalist for RazorTV until Apr 2010, before moving on to the role of Property Correspondent for ST until Aug 2014.
Since then, he has been holding the position of Social Media Editor at the mainstream news platform.
It is said that the intern had purportedly attempted suicide after her boyfriend – who is neither of the two named editors – confronted her on the alleged affair.
Previously, a SPH spokesperson responded to TOC’s queries, stating that SPH had convened an internal inquiry after a member of its staff from the ST newsroom was hospitalised last week, and is now undergoing recovery at home.
In a statement on 3 Oct, SPH said: “Our top priority is to ensure she receives all medical attention and assistance she needs as well as to provide help to her family at this difficult time.”
The panel was tasked to probe into allegations surrounding two separate instances of “improper relations” between a subordinate member of staff and two ST editors, and has subsequently found sufficient grounds to conclude that the two editors concerned had breached SPH’s code of conduct.
The SPH spokesperson said that both Mr Lim and Mr Chin will face disciplinary action “commensurate with the seriousness of their actions”.
According to the spokesperson: “One editor will be removed from his post, demoted and redeployed; the other will be given a written warning, have his salary docked, and redeployed.”
The statement added: “SPH takes a serious view of any transgressions of its code of conduct for its staff and will not hesitate to take appropriate measures following a full and transparent inquiry process.”
Editor-in-Chief of ST Warren Fernandez said that SPH had “decided that we wouldn’t do an immediate termination… largely because of the good work they’ve done.”
Touching on a query from an ST staff, Mr Fernandez said that the misconduct by the editors had to do with “supervisors using their positions to get into relationships,” adding that as far as he is informed, the matter is not being investigated by the police.
‘We want to make clear that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in the ST newsroom. Both of them have done good work in the ST newsroom… we will try our best to support them through this difficult period.”
TOC notes that as it is a criminal offence for one to attempt suicide, the police would be looking into the circumstance of the matter and not the alleged affair.