In just three months, state media Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) saw it’s net profit fell 25% to only S$40.2 million, compared with 2017’s S$53.5 million, according to their stock exchange filing yesterday (Apr 10). The worst-hit sector is it’s media business, which saw a 7.4% decline in revenue. Advertisement and paper circulation were also badly hit with 9.3% and 7.5% decline respectively.
Several state media newspapers have also shut down due to propaganda fake news and sensationalised reporting. The New Paper, Today, chinese papers Lian He Wan Bao were all shut down. Just last month in March, SPH Magazines fired 13 employees which the state media claimed “to prepare for a digitally driven future”. Singapore’s state media is ranked 151st in the world for press freedom.
SPH has blamed the internet and the rise of independent news sites like States Times Review, which is positioned directly against government mouthpiece Straits Times.
The CEO of SPH is former army general Ng Yat Chung, who recently was on a firing spree, retrenching over 230 SPH employees since he became CEO in May 2017. 40 reporters from state media papers Straits Times were fired in Oct 2017. Ng Yat Chung used to the CEO of Singapore’s national shipping company, Neptune Orient Lines, which was sold off to a French conglomerate after suffering years of losses.