National media in 2018 and beyond
Singapore media’s future saw two silver linings this year. The most intriguing ray of light came in the form of a commentary by Chua Mui Hoong in the Straits Times which explicitly said why the government should give the media some leg room to manoeuvre its way out of a digital squeeze. Here is what she said : Singapore benefits if it has a local media staffed with journalists and editors who are able, willing and given the room to push the boundaries.” And this: “We …need a relationship with stakeholders that allows … robust content to be created, and a state that does not use its considerable influence, resources and enforcement powers to box the local media into a corner.” Never before have I seen a ST commentary make such a clarion call to the government, which has controlled the paper by diktat.
Chua is trusted by the establishment. This trust gives her the licence to push the out- of-bound markers in a way that will not be frowned upon by the government. When she makes a plaintive cry like this, it must show that something is really stirring in the media scene. Can Singaporeans hungry for a responsible, intelligent and robust media expect a spring of sorts in 2018?
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