Excerpt from Jeff:
In 2000, Singapore tried to open up its tightly controlled media sector by allowing limited competition, with Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) going into broadcast, and MediaCorp venturing into newspapers.
The experiment has failed.
The two dominant media firms are now returning to separate near-monopolies in newspapers and TV.
Excerpt from Seah Chiang Nee:
The media cannot help the government if more youths turn away from newspapers or disbelieve what they say.
Worse still if more and more turn to the Internet, weblogs, e-lists and online forums that post news and information on virtually every subject a reader would want.
Some Internet sites also throw up unreliable and motivated views that may mislead youths.
It is not possible for the press to stay the same when everything else is changing. In most public debates on controversial issues, the media is not noted for taking the initiative. Instead it plays a passive role of reinforcing the official line.
Even letters and its own online forums are so heavily censored that an outside watchdog site regularly posts letters that The Straits Times has rejected.
In fact, more alternative views are emerging from government backbenchers in Parliament than from newspaper columnists. Other trendsetters are politicians, academics, think-tank researchers and a few serious online letter writers.