State media papers Today will discontinue its print edition by the end of next month (Sep 2017) due to falling readership. The 17-years-old papers under Mediacorp, along with other government-regulated propaganda papers, were collectively ranked 154th in the world for credibility, and its demise is celebrated by many Singaporeans.
As Singaporeans become more astute, many are put off by the blatant biasness and subtle political agenda put forth by the government-regulated papers. The leading propaganda papers Straits Times have been seeing falling readership and it’s parent company, Singapore Press Holdings, was forced to go into property investments and other financial products to keep the loss-making papers afloat.
Businesses and advertisers are also leading the change by refusing to advertise with Mediacorp or Singapore Press Holdings. Most of the government-regulated papers’ advertisers are government ministries, agencies and government-linked companies. However, the online advertising revenue is insufficient.
In October 2016, propaganda papers The New Paper was shut down due to falling readership. Also announced in the same month was the retrenchment of over 400 staffs at the Singapore Press Holdings.
The decline could not be a global trend as other major newspapers in the world, like BBC and Sydney Morning Herald, continue to widen their outreach and emerge successful in the digital print industry. Singapore’s state media papers are not able to adopt similar business strategies because their content are heavily skewed and influenced by the ruling party dictatorship, who claimed that government intervention is “necessary to achieve cohesion”.
Independent news site States Times Review on the other end is seeing record readership, and the free online news daily is a voluntary work of editor Alex Tan. No funding is needed to upkeep States Times Review as the Sydney-based papers is committed to bringing Singaporeans freedom of information and speech. States Times Review is identified as a “fake news” by the dictatorship’s law minister, K Shanmugam, who vowed to shut down the site.