'Adversaries' are patriots as well

The article “Media must stay balanced”, by Clarissa Oon has a tagline, “This can help in battling the influence of online media that are biased, says minister”. The minister, RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew despite being relieved from the Armed Forces, does not seem to have relieved himself from it, for he still continues to speak about ‘battle’ and ‘adversarial’. Fang Shihan rightly says in The Online Citizen, “As the former Chief of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Minister Lui displays the temperament of one who only knows of control and battle, not cooperation”. And is there such a thing as ‘objective’, ‘unbiased’ news reporting? Even the main stream media is guilty of being biased - biased towards the establishment.

The minister then went on to cite a recent video of an elderly Singaporean woman who makes a living by collecting and selling scrap cardboard, saying that the clip was flagged by bloggers as evidence that Singapore did not take sufficient care of its poor and elderly; but these commentators 'did not mention she had a three-room flat that was fully paid for, and that she has five children but did not want to rely on them to support her'. What Mr. Lui fails to realise is that in a country like Singapore, where so much of distrust is perpetrated by the government (even by the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts) against the new media, it is next to impossible for the bloggers to get information like that. It is not that the bloggers ‘did not mention’, the bloggers did not know. So, how did the government and the main stream media react when the blogosphere was spreading such ‘misinformation’? Keep quiet and pretend that you never heard or saw anything, only to talk about it at a dialogue session meant to praise the ‘credibility’ of the main stream media?

The Acting Minister also went on to say that the main stream media should not become “adversarial or one-sided like some socio-political blogs”. I mean, what’s wrong in being adversarial? It is important first to understand the ‘adversarial’ role bloggers play. Are these adversaries the adversaries of the nation? Or are these ‘adversaries’ so very crucial to the state for they identify the vulnerabilities which lie within, which may be exploited by the true enemies of the nation.

That all bloggers are adversaries is but a myth.‘Adversaries’ are patriots as well! The Acting Minister of Information, Communication and the Arts, should not have drawn the battle-lines for the main stream media to alienate people who are on the same side – the people from the blogosphere.