Former army general and new CEO of state media Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Ng Yat Chung, has turned his butcher knife on two of Singapore’s oldest national papers, Lianhe Zaobao and Lianhe Wanbao. SPH yesterday (Nov 29) announced that the two papers will see their editorial merged and headcount reduced. Lianhe Zaobao was in existence for 94 years while Lianhe Wanbao has been around for 34 years. The editorial team of Lianhe Wanbao will be dissolved leaving the Lianhe Zaobao team to take over the new paper called “NewsHub”.
The 154th-ranking government mouthpiece news company attributed the “restructuring” to the rise of internet news:
“Due to media disruption, the local Chinese media has reached a critical phase where there is a need for transformation. Technology can help us to expand our market and provide us with new platforms to reach out to more readers. It was essential for us to abandon old ways of thinking to meet new challenges.”
However, the real reason behind the retrenchment is not stated. Readership of SPH papers have hit rock bottom following the availability of free news on independent news sites and Facebook. Singaporeans have also grown increasingly discerning in recent years after the Singapore government ramp up on propaganda news to cover up it’s wrongdoings and screw ups.
The New Paper, TodayOnline and MyPaper has shut down and so are several SPH-backed blogs like Singapolitics. There has been a rise of anti-dictatorship sentiments with government blogs like TMG shutting down and other websites like Mothership and Independent Sg struggling with falling readership. State media news from SPH and Mediacorp, along with the government blogs, are key producers of fake news circulating in Singapore.