AsiaOne has clarified its decision to alter the article, which originally titled “WP’s Jamus Lim wins over the internet after his performance in GE2020 live debate”, stating that it was an independent one and there was “no external communication with any other party”.
The news outlet earlier on had published an article covering the General Election (GE) debate held on Wednesday (1 July).
The article was written alongside a series of screenshots that showcased netizens’ comments, praising the Workers’ Party (WP) candidate Jamus Lim’s performance and hailing him “as someone who needs to be ushered into Parliament”.
However, it appeared to have been altered the following day (2 July), and the title was changed to “WP’s Jamus Lim and PAP’s Vivian Balakrishnan win over the internet after their GE2020 debate performances”.
Besides the new headline, AsiaOne included an additional paragraph and a number of screenshots which showed the comments penned by netizens, praising the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Vivian Balakrishnan’s performance in the debate.
Some netizens have spotted the changes to the news headline and posted it online. Meanwhile, Facebook user David Lim speculated that the writer may have gotten a “memo from the Government” to give Mr Balakrishnan “some credit”.
Following that, AsiaOne has inserted an Editor’s Note at the end of the article clarifying that it was an “independent decision”.
“We want to thank readers for their feedback. This article was published under the original headline, “WP’s Jamus Lim wins over the internet after his performance in GE2020 live debate” on Jul 1. It was updated on Jul 2 and the headline was amended to reflect additional reporting.
“The decision to update the article was an independent decision of AsiaOne, a majority owned subsidiary of mm2Asia. There was no external communication with any other party,” it stated.
According to AsiaOne’s report on 4 July 2018, the news outlet is jointly operated by mm2 Asia and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), through its wholly-owned subsidiary SPH Invest.
The article reads, “mm2 and SPH Invest now hold 51 per cent and 49 per cent equity interest, respectively in AsiaOne Online, the operating joint venture company.”