After the failure and closure of The Middle Ground and Singapolitics, the Singapore government has published a new tabloid-style propaganda website for Singaporeans. Named “Rice Media”, the self-proclaimed “alternative voice” features former state media Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) reporters and political articles subtly favourable to Singapore’s dictatorship regime.
In a post headlined “Lee Hsien Loong will win because his siblings are ugly” published in July, Rice Media insulted Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang’s looks as “a man” and “an evil genius”, while, according to Rice Media, Lee Hsien Loong “has a kind face”. Another post also shamed government critics, calling them “keyboard warriors”.
Established in June 2016, Rice Media complied with all of the authoritarian government’s stringent media regulations including complying with the censorship ministry’s take-down order and S$50,000 bond. The propaganda news site received an undisclosed “six-figure” sum from an anonymous “investor”, to “promote” it’s brand across Asia.
The website claimed it focus on Asia “culture” and politics, just like 154th-ranking state media ChannelNewsAsia (CNA). CNA however has proven itself to be a Singapore government propaganda mouthpiece, with little credibility in Asia.
The Singapore government-backed mainstream media has been losing readership in recent years, much to their dismay. There have been several attempts to quash increasing criticisms from the public, with new ventures into “alternative news sites” to rival States Times Review, Singapore’s only independent news site based in Sydney Australia. Unlike the local websites, the Australian website do not need to comply with the Singapore censorship ministry’s repressive and chaotic media laws, hence maintaining it’s independence and neutrality over Singapore’s current affairs reporting.