It would be fair to say that good and reliable information is worth its weight in gold. Sound information enables us to make sound choices in all that we do. In the Singaporean context, it would be fair to say that some do not trust what the mainstream media have to say. It would also appear that mainstream media outlets are treated far better than their alternative media counterparts. They are seen by some as the mouthpiece of the government.
So, when we are trying to find information about a particular topic, can we rely wholesale on the mainstream media to give us the full picture? Do we also want to have another angle to look at and consider before making an informed choice?
If the answer is yes, then we cannot undervalue the importance of viable independent news websites. However, for a truly independent news website to investigate and research stories properly, they need to be properly supported by the citizens they seek to serve.
Authorities frequently criticise independent media sites for propagating “fake news”. Apart from some outlets who truly report wildly inaccurate stories, most independent news sites only make mistakes because they are under resourced and under funded — not because they are deliberately trying to spread falsehoods.
Mainstream media (MSM) will support the narrative of the state, whether is it right or wrong, sound or simply illogical. The case in point, is the face mask issue.
Since the beginning, MSM has been running stories and reports in support of the government’s narrative that face masks are not necessary and that life should be normal despite the pandemic. And look how MSM swung in the other direction, parroting what the political appointees are saying now, without a single mention of their U-turn.
Then take the recent spotlight that has been shone on the treatment of foreign blue collar workers in Singapore over the Corona Virus outbreak. It was mostly the relentless push by independent news websites and social media that brought their plight to the fore and shook the conscience of the nation.
In short, your voice counts and non-mainstream media outlets play a huge part in keeping the authorities answerable and channeling your voice.
Many of the world’s finest publications rely on reader contributions. Take The Guardian for instance and while not strictly a news website, Wikipedia which provides much information to many a Google searcher also relies heavily on crowdfunding. For these sites to continue benefiting its users, it is not enough just to survive, they have to thrive.
In the Singaporean landscape, it would be fair to state that we do not have what is considered to be a free or robust press. Our independent media sites are not just fighting to raise funds, they are also under the pressure of legislation that has been suggested was put in place just to limit their work. If Singaporeans value the work of independent news sites, they need to be prepared to support these sites who are sometimes teetering from month to month financially.
Even giving up a cup of Starbucks coffee once a week by every reader and donating that to independent news sites will make a huge difference. Every little helps and everyone counts. Help us work for you by providing you with reliable and well sourced information. As they say, “knowledge is power”. Help us to empower you.
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