Photo of K Shanmugam from AFP

Any media that does not publish him in a favourable light is called “fake news”, even when they are BBC or CNN, or so according to US President Donald Trump. Calling a media “fake news”, or a fraud, is a textbook-style classic ad hominem technique where one attack the source of the argument to avoid the argument altogether. Unfortunately such rhetoric has reached the shores of Singapore and is now in actual practice by the Singapore ruling party PAP government.

Over in Singapore, States Times Review is officially a fake news, according to Law Minister K Shanmugam. By labelling the news media so, Law Minister K Shanmugam can invalid all forms of criticisms by STR in a single stroke. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as he expected because, perhaps to the ignorance of the Law Minister, Singapore’s mainstream media Straits Times is ranked 151th in credibility. The world actually acknowledges on record that the Singapore media is the real fake news, and this is why readership of STR continue to soar despite being called out by the Minister, who claims he is drawing an incorruptible million dollar salary.

Law Minister K Shanmugam waxed lyrical about the dangers of “fake news”, calling them “foreign weapons” to delegitimise the ruling party PAP government and turn Singaporeans against them. Here in all honesty, STR would like to clarify that STR did not turn Singaporeans against the government, rather, STR has merely supplemented those who are against the government valid facts and arguments to do so. Many more are drawn into reading STR because the facts in the articles are supplied by none other than the government mouthpiece media – STR merely re-written the news and presented the same facts. In fact, STR remains factual to date since its inception 2 years ago, as the whole point of its existence is to complement the 151th-ranking mainstream media.

“Foreign weapons” is a false flag, the real dangers of “fake news” is the excuse to use “fake news” to legislate new media censorship laws which is what Minister K Shanmugam is doing. The lawless Law Minister openly said that he will write new laws to curb fake news, and of course he gets to decide who is fake and who isn’t.

Nonetheless, many Singaporeans however still subscribe to the “fake news” argument by Minister K Shanmugam. They were indoctrinated into thinking that all criticisms are fake news, and never once thought that the reverse may be true. Propaganda articles are accepted as real news, never mind the deception and manipulation of half-truths. However, the only difference between STR and the 151th mainstream media is that STR do not demand absolute trust. Readers are welcomed to point out factual mistakes and articles are amended immediately as soon as they are acknowledged. STR encourages critical thinking and a healthy dose of mistrust – or so what a responsible media should be.

As the Law Ministry under the dictatorship is getting their platoons of lawyers to draw up new clause and provisions, we know there is no stopping. The day where the new legislation come into effect will be the death of media literacy in Singapore, or more dangerously, the death of thinking. A nation of servants.

STR Editor Alex Tan

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