Ladies and gentlemen, it is Channel News Asia‘s turn to be caught with their pants down after The Straits Times was discovered to have censored Minister Chan Chun Sing’s quotes on Feb. 26, 2015.
This time, CNA took the drastic step of completely erasing an entire article from both CNA’s website as well as on Today online.
The article in question, is this piece, “Singaporeans express Budget concerns at forum”, published on Feb. 26, about feedback unit REACH’s post-Budget 2015 forum:
Here is the article in its entirety:
Singaporeans express Budget concerns at forum
Some of the concerns raised by participants at the forum on Thursday include an influx of foreign domestic workers due to the lower concessionary levy, and the pay for national servicemen.
SINGAPORE: More than 100 Singaporeans gave their feedback on Budget 2015 at a forum on Thursday (Feb 26), organised by feedback unit REACH.
One concern was whether lowering the foreign domestic worker concessionary levy could cause an influx of such workers.
Senior Minister of State for Health and REACH Chairman Amy Khor gave the assurance that there is a foreign worker dependency ratio in place to control the numbers. She added that the purpose of decreasing the levy is to help the many families with caregiver needs.
Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo was also present. She addressed one participant’s suggestion that national servicemen should be paid more.
While she noted the importance of giving NSmen recognition, Mrs Teo said service for the country cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
Ms Grace Morgan, a participant at the forum, praised the Budget announcements.
“My overall impression is that it is a very inclusive Budget because it has a lot of features for the lower-income as well as the middle-income group, and I think that it ticked a lot of boxes that people wanted to be ticked,” Ms Morgan told Channel NewsAsia before the event.
She said something innocently contentious about how NSmen’s service for the country cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
Reasons for censorship?
At least one blogger noted the article’s deletion on March 3, about five days after the piece was first published online.
A few days prior to the article’s removal, Teo’s innocuously contentious comments about how NSmen recognition should not be measured in dollars and cents became a lightning rod for criticism online.
Based on this forum comment thread, the most common refrain was that why should the PAP and minister’s contributions be measured in monetary terms but not so for NSmen? Why the double standards?
It is not known if Teo was misquoted or her statement was taken out of context as the original CNA report failed to elaborate what the original question was.
REACH also shared a video of the forum highlights yesterday but did not include Teo’s comments about NSmen recognition.