Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from SPH

At his visit to his state media headquarters in Toa Payoh, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that the government-controlled media, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), is facing difficulties from the shoring popularity of States Times Reivew.

The dictator claimed that the 154th-ranking media will “continue to deliver reliable news”:

“In this challenging media environment, with falling revenues, digital disruption, and fake news, SPH has a tough job. But I am confident that SPH news outlets will continue to deliver reliable news and relevant content to the public.”

SPH is currently downsizing after seeing falling readership from both their online and printed newspapers. In the past two years, three newspapers have terminated circulation – Today, The New Paper and Lian He Wanbao – and the state media was forced to retrench more than 400 SPH staffs in Dec last year.

Singapore’s state media is ranked 154th in the world for credibility and it is directly controlled by the censorship ministry, Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI). Lee Hsien Loong’s son, Li Hong Yi, is a director at MCI.

The dictatorship’s Law Minister K Shanmugam has earlier in August called States Times Review a “fake news” for it’s “critical” reports on the Singapore government.

States Times Review on the contrary has been seeing increasing popularity as the independent Australian news media does not have to comply with repressive media censorship laws in Singapore. Among the censorship laws includes 24-hour take-down order and a S$50,000 bond for every news website in Singapore. The Australian website has the highest interactions in Facebook shares and likes per article, compared to pseudo-alternative Singapore news sites like Mothership and Independent Singapore.