Local socio-political website Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) editor Richard Wan called it quits after the disappointing General Elections result. In his latest article, Richard wrote that he will have to commit more time to his work and will only contribute articles when he have time. TRE will continue to operate after his departure.
TRE started in 2009 and is one of the earliest socio-political websites in Singapore. Its editors were initially anonymous while its commentators are able to debate freely on its articles while remaining anonymous. The editor of States Times Review first started off as a regular contributor to TRE too. After several lawsuits and threats by the Singapore ruling party PAP government, PAP MPs, government-linked companies like Temasek Holdings and even the Prime Minister himself, TRE was shut down for a period of time before restarting with a new name and losing many editors, followers and readership.
Here is the departing article by Richard Wan:
It has been some 4 years since I volunteered to take up the position of an editor in TRE. Indeed, there have been many ups and downs along the way. Regardless, it has always been comforting to know that many netizens, including myself, are learning and benefiting from the many interactions with each other on TRE.
I volunteered simply because I felt there was a need to provide more alternative news and views, so as to add more media diversity into our society.
Certainly, with Singapore’s Press Freedom Index languishing at 150th position out of 180 [Link], it shows that there is much for Singapore to improve in terms of media control, if Singapore is to truly become a first world nation.
Indeed, society needs to have a diversity of views and ideas in order for it to progress and to grow. Without a free press and transparency, it’s hard for the people to make an informed choice or support the right decisions made by the country’s leaders.
Ultimately, freedom of the press forms the basis of democracies. Many leaders of the first world have acknowledged this:
“Democracy is impossible without freedom of the press, for freedom of the press is the basis of democracies. Complex controversies cannot be solved without freedom of the press, as questions must be aired. Freedom of the press is one of the major building blocks in a democracy.” –Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany
“A free press will sometimes make uncomfortable reading for any politician. But any passing embarrassment or justified indignation must never blind us to its vital role in both the health and protection of democracy. Those who wish to destroy democracy and its freedoms know this well. It is why their first act is often to try to muzzle the media. It is also why we must all be vigilant in safeguarding the freedom of the press at home and abroad.” – Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of UK
“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny… Under dictatorship the press is bound to languish… But where free institutions are indigenous to the soil and men have the habit of liberty, the press will continue to be the Fourth Estate, the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.” –Sir Winston Churchill
I’ve served the equivalent of 2 tours of National Service in TRE. It’s time for me to pass the baton to someone else. I’ll continue to write and contribute online but will probably write less now due to work commitments.
I hope that one day Singapore’s Press Freedom Index will rise to the same level as other first world nations. When that happens, Singapore can then be considered to have truly arrived as a first world nation.
18 Sep 2015