In the article (‘Yaacob: MDA was right to shut down TRS‘), the Free My Internet group tries to compare TRS with Stomp and argues that Stomp has also fabricated stories but was not shut down by MDA. It shuts down TRS instead, with the Free My Internet group crying foul.
I’m not trying to defend MDA here but wish to state my objective view of why TRS should be shut down but not Stomp.
The commentators here seem to miss a very important point when they accuse MDA of being “bias”.
Dr Yaacob has already said. The government isn’t against the internet. It opposes the way TRS fabricated stories to stoke ill-feelings against foreigners in Singapore. TRS is clearly trying to destabilize our harmonious society by causing angst between Singaporeans and foreigners.
In the Thaipusam incident, over which the TRS editors were charged, they did precisely that. They invented stories about the incident being started by a Filipino family complaining that the drum noise startling their child. The family wanted the procession to stop playing the drums.
TRS then added more spice to their story by saying that because of the complaint from the Filipino family, the police went in to stop the drummers. As it turns out, there was no Filipino family at the scene. It was fabricated purely to sensationalize the story so as to get more traffic and to get more advertising revenue, at the cost of making more Singaporeans angry with Filipinos!
Let me ask you an honest question, do you think this is right? Do you condone such sites to invent stories so as to cause disharmony in our society, among the different classes of people in Singapore?
How are we going to live together on this island if sites like TRS kept stoking ill-feelings among Singaporeans and foreigners?
Let’s now take a look at the case in Stomp. Indeed, there was a case of a story being fabricated in Stomp. This has been quite well documented in http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Motoring/Story/A1Story20120625-355071.html.
A journalist cooked up a story in Stomp about an MRT train moving with its door open. This was later found to be false by SPH editors themselves.
I quote from the article: “On discovering this, Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH’s English and Malay Newspapers Division, sent a letter to Mr Tan Ek Kia, the interim chief executive of rail operator SMRT, apologising for the incident. Ms Francis was also sacked by SPH, which owns Stomp, on the same day.”
Mr Daniel said in his letter to SMRT: “My team and I would like to apologise unreservedly to SMRT for this erroneous report by one of our staff. We truly regret the damage this has caused SMRT.”
He added: “Aside from breaching our professional ethics, what she (Ms Francis) has done goes against all the values that we stand for.”
Do you all see the difference in actions between TRS and SPH editors?
SPH editors owned up the mistakes and fired the journalist. They also apologized to SMRT.
Did TRS editors own up their mistakes and apologize? No. In fact, they were the ones who perpetuated the fabricated story about the Filipino family.
Most important of all, the fabricated story in Stomp was not about causing disharmony among the classes of people in Singapore. There was no intent for Stomp to do so. Stomp did not make up stories to deliberately stoke ill-feelings between Singaporeans and foreigners, and to profit from it. SPH editors are honorable professionals who will own up when mistakes are made. I can’t say the same for TRS editors.
Now you know why MDA acted to shut down TRS and not Stomp?
Overall, I think MDA has acted objectively and responsibly.