Recently there was public outcry over several photos of groups gathering along Robertson Quay. Some of these people were allegedly gathering around to socialise after buying takeaway alcohol from nearby restaurants. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has since issued written directions for these restaurants to stop selling takeaway alcohol.
The Straits Times (ST) published a 17 May 2020 article on this incident, "Some Robertson Quay restaurants barrred from selling takeaway alcohol after photos of gatherings draw flak amid Covid-19 outbreak". However sharp-eyed netizens noticed the state media had altered this article.
Screenshots of the article showed that ST had removed a sentence which mentioned two policemen who were in the Robertson Quay area in the midst of these social gatherings. The deleted sentence said "The marketing manager at SPH radio said she saw two uniformed policemen in the area, but they "just walked past"".
Reading this sentence may give ST readers the impression that the uniformed policemen were not enforcing Circuit Breaker (CB) rules. There were already some voices alleging a double standard in enforcing CB rules between the heartlands and areas not frequented by Singaporeans. Could this be a reason why this particular sentence was removed to prevent any misunderstanding?
No matter what, there is no doubt that the Singapore state media is now ranked 158th in the World Press Freedom Index.