Can the public trust the mainstream media to report anything positive of the alternative parties if they practice censorship on news?

As most of our readers would be aware, The Online Citizen (TOC) held a fundraising dinner on Saturday night (6 July) at FiftyRafflesPlace.

Given that the venue of the fundraiser was a fairly upmarket one with high profile attendees such as prominent opposition politicians like former Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP), Dr. Tan Cheng Bock, Workers’ Party stalwarts like Pritam Singh, Gerald Giam, Leon Perera, Dennis Tan and Daniel Goh, the head of the Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan and its Chairman Dr. Paul Tambyah, party chiefs such as Lim Tean of People’s Voice Party and Tan Jee Say of SingFirst, other prominent social and civil rights activists such as Jolovan Wham, blogger Leong Sze Hian and lawyer M Ravi just to name a few, it is a wonder that the event was completely ignored by the mainstream media in Singapore!

Even Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, Lee Suet Fern were in attendance!

From left: Lee Suet Fern, Terry Xu, Lee Hsien Yang

With such a unprecedented gathering of well known names in the Singapore political and civil rights scene, one can only wonder if the mainstream media has somehow missed it or if it has chosen to deliberately ignore such a gathering. Neither is very reassuring.

If it is the former, one has to doubt its ability for sourcing breaking news if it can miss such an event where so many well known names are gathered.

If it is the latter, we really have to question if the mainstream media is indeed committed to bringing Singaporeans objective news.

Is the mainstream media not tacitly cementing its reputation as state controlled? The mainstream media have reported on much less trivial news. So why not this? As far as my memory serves me, I do not think that we have had so many so called “anti establishment leaders” in the one room! How is this not news worthy?

If the mainstream media are aware of the event but chose not to report it, has it chosen the route of self censorship to please the powers be or has it been directed not to report on this event? Yet again, neither is very reassuring for it lends credence to views that it is either a timid machine unable to objectively report news or it is being directly controlled by the establishment – in other words, open to abuse and propaganda.

In both scenarios, I am left disappointed by the mainstream media for either sheer ineptitude or a lack of a backbone.

It also makes me worry. Can we trust the mainstream media to deliver unbiased news of the alternative parties and analysis of their policies to the voters to make an informed decision at the General Election?

As the online media platforms come under tighter controls, will we lose our sources of alternative news and hear only one side of the narrative especially ahead of the elections? Is this what we want?