In conjunction with his giving recognition to a local paper’s published story, opposition politician of the Workers’ Party (WP) Pritam Singh, beckoned all journalists in Singapore to take on more investigative stories as Singapore will be “better off as a country and people” if the press takes on subjects such as the Medishield Life and the pricing of medical procedures.
Mr Pritam appears to be referring to the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s remarks, when he told The General Assembly of the International Press Institute at Helsinki on 1971 that “Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.”
He asserted that more could be gained if the media “pursues investigative (and even uncomfortable) stories.” He also added that a free media in a democracy can help attain positive change and that a fair media should guarantee that it does not pick its issues. Pritam also hinted the creation of an independent body that will serve as an ethical and regulatory oversight to keep media in constant check.
In 2015, the WP advocated through a manifesto that “A free and independent mass media is a bulwark that promotes good governance by allowing citizens to communicate with the different arms of government.”
However, while the opposition politician believed that it will be to Singapore’s benefit if the media is independent that supports good governance and allows its citizens to engage in free dialogue with different government agencies, he also realistically concluded that “there is a long long way to go yet and a new dawn awaits Singapore.”
“When the media pursues investigative (and even uncomfortable) stories, individuals and institutions will come under the spotlight ……. But that is how a free media in a democracy works and how change for the better is precipitated. A fair media will make sure it does not pick its issues. An independent body can exercise ethical and regulatory oversight to keep the fourth estate in check,” Mr Pritam emphasized.