Netizens have accused mainstream media publication, The Straits Times, of trying to milk the untimely passing of an NUS graduate to sell subscriptions by placing articles about the victim behind a paywall.
The victim, 23-year-old Jasmine Lim, passed away last Sunday morning after a Mercedes she was travelling in collided with an off-service SMRT bus at a Bukit Timah traffic junction. The fatal accident occurred mere days after a 19-year-old NUS student died in another traffic accident at Clementi.
The police revealed that they were alerted to an accident at the junction of Jalan Anak Bukit and Jalan Jurong Kechil after midnight, at 12.57am. Revealing that the car driver, a 24-year-old woman, and a 26-year-old male passenger were conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, the police added: “Another car passenger, a 23-year-old woman, was unconscious when conveyed to the National University Hospital (NUH), where she subsequently succumbed to her injuries.”
The bus driver was not injured in the crash and has been assigned to non-driving duties, as investigations are ongoing.
According to the Chinese daily, Lim has been celebrating her boyfriend’s birthday with her friends that night. Earlier this month, on 1 Apr, Lim has also celebrated her second anniversary with her boyfriend and wrote on social media that the time they have spent together was like a fairytale.
Lim’s untimely passing shocked netizens who called for the authorities to change traffic light rules to prevent further casualties, especially in the light of the other fatal traffic accident involving 19-year-old Kathy Ong.
Other netizens have noted that English broadsheet, The Straits Times, has placed articles about Lim behind a “premium” paywall. Those who wish to read “premium” articles, which the paper touts to be “some of our best content”, must purchase a subscription that costs between S$178.80 and S$358.80 a year.
Netizens have called the publication out for trying to “milk” Lim’s passing to sell subscriptions and have excoriated the paper for being “insensitive” and “disrespectful” and for resorting to “low” tactics to make money:
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which runs The Straits Times, announced earlier this month that it suffered a 25 per cent decline in net profit for the second quarter of this fiscal year, as compared to the same period last year. Net profits for the three months that ended 28 Feb came in at $40.2 million – $13.3 million less than the $53.5 million it collected in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.
The group revealed the sizeable decline in net profit nearly three weeks after investment banking firm UOB Kay Hian reported that the advertisement page count of the SPH’s flagship newspaper, The Straits Times, had fallen by 12.7 per cent year-on-year.
UOB Kay Hian analyst Foo Zhi Wei had asserted then that SPH “…continues to see flat circulation revenue in spite of increased digital subscribers amid a backdrop of a continued decline in advertising revenue.”