Yesterday (28 July), the Prime Minister’s younger brother Lee Hsien Yang has voiced his support for the newly forms Progress Singapore Party (PSP) headed by former People’s Action Party MP Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Mr Lee’s support expressed in a Facebook post also criticised the ruling party as having ‘lost its way’.
Surprisingly, one of Singapore’s mainstream media outlets, Straits Times, seems to have forgone reporting this particular piece of news. While Channel NewsAsia (CNA) and TODAY did report on Mr Lee’s support for PSP and criticism of his brother’s ruling party, it appears Straits Times has decided not to cover it. That’s strange considering any comment by Mr Lee, as brother of PM, would be of interest to the rest of the country.
We had reported earlier in July that there seems to be some sort of media blackout in relation to Mr Lee Hsien Yang which is surprising given he is a member of Singapore’s most prominent family – brother to the Prime Minister and son of Singapore’s founder. Every little move by any of the Lee’s tend to be reported widely on mainstream media but it appears that the spotlight over Lee Hsien Yang is dimming rather drastically.
Neither Channel NewsAsia nor TODAY or Straits Times published any articles about Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s son’s marriage to his male partner in South Africa in May nor about the family’s attendance at this year’s Pink Dot rally.
There was also no reporting on by CNA, TODAY, or ST about Mr Lee and his wife attended a TOC fundraiser on 6 July which was well attended by prominent party leaders and social activists.
Back in 2018 during the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times said: “Over the last five, 10 years we’ve tried extremely hard to be fair, balanced and objective because we see our role as not trying to play up one party or the other, but to give our readers as much information as they can to make decisions for themselves.
“If we were biased, we would be clearly called out on social media. It would backfire and affect our credibility, so we wouldn’t be inclined to do that. I don’t think it does anybody any service if we tried to … it would be a disservice to our readers, a disservice to our journalists, and ultimately I think a disservice to Singapore.”
Therefore, with Mr Warren’s assertion of being “fair, balanced and objective”, it is rather curious that ST appears to have chosen not of pick up this latest Facebook post which has already been reported on by CNA and TODAY. A quick search on Google shows that ST hasn’t picked up the story.