Newspapers still relevant: SM Goh

Dear SM Goh,

I refer to the 11 Nov 2010 Straits Times report of your speech at the 10th anniversary celebration of the newspaper Today.

While Edelman may have found 68% of Singaporeans trusting their newspapers most compared to 34% in other countries, it doesn’t imply that our newspapers are therefore the most objective, truthful and bias free. If Edelman had conducted a survey in North Korea, it might have found 100% of North Koreans trusting their newspapers most even if North Korean newspapers are nothing more than government propaganda pamphlets.

Similarly, Nielsen Media’s finding that three-quarters of Singaporeans picked local newspapers as their preferred news source doesn’t imply that local newspapers are therefore the most objective, truthful and bias free.

Therefore, while the surveys testify to the trust Singaporeans have for their media, they do not show that the media is therefore the most objective, truthful and bias free.

While there may be many voices on the Internet, only a handful enjoy sizeable readership and prestige. These are the trusted voices of truth on the Internet.

Rather than build consensus, national newspapers seek buy-in into government policies.

You should not just urge people to verify what is said on the Internet, you should also urge people to verify what is printed in newspapers.

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