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Singaporeans Should Be Less Concerned About SPH’s Falsified Circulation Figures: The Real Crime Is That Your Money Goes To Fund a Monopoly Whose Main Purpose Is To Keep LHL and the PAP in Power

In Parliament on Monday Josephine Teo astonishingly said that the blatant criminality and utter lack of integrity of SPH’s management revealed by the inflated circulation figures scandal was a reason to continue pouring taxpayers’ money into SPH Media. She justified this by saying that “SMT’s internal review of circulation numbers reinforced our assessment that the media landscape had become highly unfavourable for news organisations, even if they had substantial reach and were trusted by the public.”

Like all the top PAP Ministers, Josephine Teo is a master of Doublespeak (who can forget her glorious “you only need a small space to have sex” when someone brought up the fact that our low birth rate might be linked to the ever shrinking size of HDBs) and her performance on Monday was no exception. The only reason SPH Media had substantial reach was because it had a monopoly enforced by law. When we had a semblance of a free press in the 1960s and 1970s, with newspapers like the Singapore Herald, they were shut down by LKY supposedly because they were fronts for foreign interference in Singapore’s politics. What LKY really meant was that no one was going to interfere with his self-appointed right to brainwash and intimidate Singaporeans into keeping him in power by voting for him and his cronies at the fake elections he allowed to keep up a pretence of democracy. If Singaporeans ever trusted SPH, which is highly dubious, then that is because they have never been allowed a basis for comparison.

The real crime here is not the inflation of circulation figures, about which the PAP Government probably knew and approved of, since (as I have exposed on this blog they manipulate and falsify so many statistics to present them in a flattering light) but the passage of the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act to give the Government editorial control over all newspapers published in Singapore and the frequent use of sedition and criminal and civil defamation laws, augmented now by sweeping new laws for a digital age such as the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act (POFMA) and Foreign Interference Countermeasures Act (FICA) in an attempt to ensure Singaporeans cannot hear the truth.

To use the Government’s control over the media to keep yourself in power so that you, your spouses (including of course LHL’s wife and, on a smaller scale, Josephine Teo’s husband), relatives and cronies can continue to draw salaries amounting to millions of dollars (in Ho Ching’s case a state secret but almost certainly tens if not hundreds of millions) a year paid from state resources that belong to Singaporeans is corrupt and should be criminally sanctioned. In many countries, including Israel and Austria, politicians in power have faced corruption charges for bribing media companies to give them favourable coverage. In Singapore LHL and his father went one better and nationalised the media and placed it directly under their control and at their service, glorifying and exaggerating their achievements and discrediting, in many cases with fake information, their opponents. Who can forget the New Paper cover graphic from !997 warning the voters of Cheng San that their HDB estates would become slums if they dared to elect JBJ? That was certainly worth the 5% or so margin of victory that the PAP achieved.

The real crime here is not the inflation of circulation figures, though these represent an attempt to bamboozle credulous and sycophantic foreigners into believing that Singapore has a vibrant media, but the legally sanctioned monopoly that keeps one dynasty in power and that Singaporeans are asked to pay for twice, once when they buy or consume it and again through their taxes in the form of state subsidies.


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