Recently, Dr Lee Wei Ling, the daughter of Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew declared that she will no longer write for SPH as the editors there do not allow her freedom of speech. It seemed that ST sucked at sucking up.
Some people found it ironic that a member of the FamiLEE is muzzled by the mainstream media. The sense of irony stems from the belief that LKY used censorship of the mainstream media as a way to shape people’s thoughts to be favourable to him and the PAP.
Dr Lee Wei Ling today sought to dispel that myth in a Facebook post which she has made public:
So according to Dr Lee, Ah Gong wasn’t offended by statements of facts. He would only bring out the knuckledusters and hatchets when slanderous statements were made about him.
But we do know for a fact that the mainstream media had for years reported news in ways that are favourable to the PAP. With the possible exception of the most recent general election, the mainstream media were infamous for not showing pictures of the turnout at opposition rallies. Instead, they would show images which suggested the turnout to be far worse than the huge masses that they really were.
Therefore, if we were to believe Dr Lee, that Ah Gong had never intended to repress the freedom of speech, then the logical conclusion is that the censorship of the mainstream media, at least when it came to political issues, were self-imposed. In other words, SPH and MediaCorp censored themselves because… fear? Overzealousness to suck up and carry balls? Incompetence? All of the above?
I go for all of the above. Ah Gong himself had once said that the standard of Straits Times wasn’t particularly high: “I spent a month in Vancouver in October 1968. Then I went on to Harvard University in Boston. For one month, I read the papers in Vancouver. They were not much better than The Straits Times. They had one million people, English-speaking. But there was no sparkle in their pages.”
Granted. This was way back in 1979. But I don’t think there has been much, if any, improvements since.