Mediacorp’s flagship English-language publication TODAY has called Mothership out for picking up a story TODAY first picked up without attributing TODAY as their source.
On Tuesday (22 Oct), TODAY published an article about a new peer-to-peer car sharing platform called ‘Drive Lah’ that recently received permission from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to run a year-long trial in Singapore. The initiative, which TODAY compared to Airbnb for cars, allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles.
The comprehensive TODAY article was well-researched and featured interviews with LTA, the founder of the ‘Drive Lah’ platform, as well as a ‘Drive Lah’ user.
On Wednesday (23 Oct), Mothership published an article on the ‘Drive Lah’ platform but apparently failed to attribute TODAY as its source. TODAY informed Mothership on Twitter: “Hey we see that you have picked up our story but there was no attribution.”
Mothership appears to have edited the story to include the proper attribution in the wee hours of Thursday morning. As of 2.13am on Thursday (24 Oct), the article includes two hyperlinks to the TODAY article. A cached version of the original article is also no longer available on Google.
The Mothership article was written by Belmont Lay, one of the founding editors of the website. The website also lists veteran civil servant Philip Yeo and former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo as part of its editorial team.
In 2014, an email that was circulated to varsities seeking students to join Mothership as interns listed Mr George Yeo as the founder of Mothership. The email, which listed Mr Lay as the contact person, stated:
“Mothership is a youth organisation founded by ex-Foreign Minister Mr George Yeo. They promote social consciousness among youths in Singapore through various volunteer projects with charities and welfare organisations. They are looking for interns to help with their upcoming media platform, Mothership Post.”
Mothership’s current managing editor and deputy managing director Martino Tan, who has been leading the editorial team since the website’s inception in 2013, also identified Mr George Yeo as a founder in his professional profile page online.
His profile announced on 2014: “Focused on how the youth view community service, Mothership provides accessible, actionable and creative platforms for Singaporeans to get involved… Mothership’s founder is former Foreign Minister of Singapore Mr George Yeo.”
Around the time Mothership was founded, Mr Lay told The Online Citizen that Mothership was funded by executive director Lien We King, who also has a connection to Mr George Yeo.
Mr Lien had earlier served as the fund manager who helped Mr George Yeo collect forms for the 2011 Presidential Election when the ex-ruling party politician considered running for the Presidency after he was ousted from Aljunied GRC by the Workers’ Party.