More details have been emerging regarding the Committee of Inquiry that Government-linked media giant Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) convened to look into allegations of “improper relations” against two senior editors at the conglomerate’s flagship English newspaper, The Straits Times.
Yesterday, we reported that a reader sent us a tip-off that one of the senior editors involved in the scandal is 42-year-old Marc Lim who is married and has two children. The reader, Mr Thomas Lau, further said that Lim was suspended after the intern attempted suicide:
“ST News Editor Marc Lim, married with 2 kids, suspended for alleged affair with an intern. The intern attempted suicide when her boyfriend found out about the affair. Police are investigating.”
The Straits Times’ parent company Singapore Press Holdings appeared to corroborate this account when a spokesperson told the media yesterday that a junior member of its staff from The Straits Times newsroom is presently recovering at home after she was hospitalised last week.
In a statement, SPH apparently said that the COI panel investigated allegations of two separate instances of improper relations that a subordinate member of staff made against two ST editors and that the panel found sufficient evidence to conclude that both the editors had breached SPH’s code of conduct.
Socio-political website The Online Citizen has since reported that the second senior editor involved in the scandal is the national broadsheet’s Social Media Editor Daryl Chin, who has been with SPH for nearly 12 years.
Having started out as a content producer in 2007, Chin climbed up the ranks within the organisation and was promoted to the position of Social Media Editor in Aug 2014.
It has also been revealed that the two senior editors used their positions to have “improper relations” the the intern. It has been reported that both men had separate relationships with the same intern in two separate periods during her time at the ST newsroom.
Yesterday evening, ST editor Warren Fernandez called a town hall meeting at the SPH office and confirmed that the misconduct had to do with “supervisors using their positions to get into relationships”.
Revealing that the COI was convened after a junior employee’s hospitalisation, when “serious allegations” were made, Fernandez added that the COI – which concluded its probe on Tuesday – was headed by someone outside ST to ensure that the investigation was “fair and transparent”.
Fernandez said that the organisation did not decide to immediately sack the senior editors because of their work in the newsroom. Yahoo News cites Fernandez as saying:
“We want to make clear that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in the ST newsroom. Both of them have done good work in the ST newsroom…we will try our best to support them through this difficult period.
We decided that we wouldn’t do an immediate termination… largely because of the good work they’ve done.”
Fernandez reportedly told his staff to tell their friends who ask about the matter that “this is not what the ST newsroom is about. We have respect for our staff and we don’t treat staff in an untoward way.”