26 February 2006

Election Coverage & Mainstream Media

Feb 26, 2006
Media 'too timid' in election coverage: Panellist
THE way the mainstream media covers elections came under fire yesterday at a forum on politics at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Mr Viswa Sadasivan, chairman of TV production company The Right Angle Group, suggested that journalists today are more timid than they need be.

'There is so much room to manoeuvre. I don't think we need to be looking over our shoulders all the time. The media needs to play less safe,' he said.

Mr Viswa, a former current affairs producer with the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), took to task today's journalists and editors.

Unlike their predecessors, he said, they fail to push the envelope. He contrasted this to his own efforts when he was in charge of elections coverage at SBC in the 1980s. He pushed for and saw through the broadcast of a debate between the People's Action Party and opposition party leaders, he said.

Mr Viswa, whose company's clients include government agencies, also chairs the Feedback Unit's political development group and sits on the Media Development Board.

Of today's journalists, he said: 'The media does not have enough strong leadership, enough people willing to take a stand.'

'The media could do with a lot more guts,' he added.

He also accused the press of not giving the opposition fair coverage.

He said that, in reporting on the Workers' Party manifesto, they had focused on the Government's labelling of four of its proposals as 'time bombs'. He claimed that many points in the manifesto were not captured in media reports, a point that Nominated MP Geh Min later agreed with.

Who's this Viswa Sadasivan fella? To find out more, check out his bio-data over at the Singapore Angle.


darrnot said...

There is so much room to manoeuvre. I don't think we need to be looking over our shoulders all the time. The media needs to play less safe,' he said.

Question is, what incentive is there for the media to play it less safe. Unless this direction comes from the people at the top, I don't think there is any incentive for the media to change.

In related news, Dr Tony Tan, 65, former Deputy Prime Minister and currently Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, was unanimously nominated by the SPH board to be the new Chairman following the AGM. Dr Tan is concurrently the Deputy Chairman and Executive Director of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Pte Ltd and Chairman of the National Research Foundation. He joined the SPH Board on 5 September 2005.

Anonymous said...

Unlike anywhere else in the world journalism is not a profession in s'pore, merely a trade. And most who call themselves journalists are lackeys and toadies of the PAP govt.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Doubleyellow has an interesting first-hand account, on his blog, of what transpired at the forum. Click on his name in the above comment, to get there.

darrnot said...

The video footage of the event is also available at the NUScast site.