Ex-ST editor Warren Fernandez leads Edelman, reveals survey on high trust in Govt and Media in Singapore

Ex-ST editor Warren Fernandez leads Edelman, reveals survey on high trust in Govt and Media in Singapore

It was reported in TOC on Wednesday (15 Mar 2023) that the latest Edelman Trust Barometer report stated that Singaporeans’ trust in their government “has risen by two percentage points, reaching a record high of 76%”.

According to Edelman’s survey, the government remains the “most trusted institution” in Singapore with Singaporeans’ trust in its media also remaining “comparatively high”. But trust in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses declines, Edelman said.

Singapore’s government trust ranks fourth-highest among the 28 countries surveyed, trailing China, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, which ironically were classified as “Not Free” by NGO Freedom House in terms of the degree of civil liberties and political rights in their country.

The Edelman Trust Barometer report is said to be based on a survey of over 32,000 respondents across 28 countries.

Former ST editor joins Edelman as Asia-Pacific CEO

The person running Edelman in Singapore is Warren Fernandez, the former editor-in-chief at English/Malay/Tamil Media Group in SPH Media and editor of Straits Times (ST).

He left ST and joined Edelman last October as the new CEO of Edelman in charge of the Asia-Pacific region. He oversees more than 1,300 Edelman employees across the firm’s 21 offices in Asia-Pacific.

At the time of his departure for Edelman, Fernandez said, “I’m very excited to join a firm that I have admired and worked with, as a client and partner, over the years.”

During his time in ST, Fernandez also conducted polls, but they seemed to be off the mark at times.

In January 2013, ST conducted an exit poll during the by-election period of Punggol East.

At the time, People’s Action Party (PAP) MP and Speaker of Parliament, Michael Palmer, had an affair with a female from the People’s Association. Their affair became public, and Palmer was forced to resign as MP of Punggol East. As a result, a by-election was called.

During the by-election period of Punggol East, ST polled some 50 residents in the constituency, asking who they would vote for.

“While 21 of those polled say they are undecided, those rooting for the People’s Action Party outnumbered opposition supporters 19 to 10,” said the ST report.

“The edge that the ruling party appears to hold may be a reflection of the incumbency advantage it has always held in a middle class, traditionally PAP-leading ward,” it continued.

Fernandez even published the article with the heading, “ST poll: More rooting for PAP”.

As it turned out, Fernandez was wrong by a wide margin. In fact, PAP lost Punggol East during the 2013 By-Election. Workers’ Party’s Lee Li Lian won the seat with about a 10 per cent victory margin.

As the ST article was published after the Writ of Election was issued, it violated the Parliamentary Election Act (PEA). Anyone who is found guilty of conducting an exit poll within the specified time period in the PEA is liable to face fines of up to $1,500 or a jail term of up to a year, or both.

But the police only issued “stern warnings” to SPH and Fernandez, in lieu of public prosecution.

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