Straits Times, CNA got it wrong: S R Nathan was never S’pore’s first elected president

Ong Teng Cheong was.

Belmont Lay | August 23, 2016 @ 04:12 pm

Update [August 23, 5.50pm]: The Straits Times have issued a correction note on its online article. It apologised for its error of stating that “Mr S R Nathan was Singapore’s first elected president”. 

Major gaffes have appeared in the mainstream media’s coverage of the passing of Singapore’s ex-president S R Nathan, on Aug. 22, 2016.

Both Channel NewsAsia and The Straits Times reported that Nathan was Singapore’s first elected president.

This is inaccurate.

Channel NewsAsia article

sr-nathan-cna-first-elected-president

What was initially reported: Mr S R Nathan was Singapore’s first elected President and became its sixth and longest-serving President.

Edited: Mr S R Nathan was Singapore’s sixth and longest-serving President.

The Straits Times article

sr-nathan-straits-times-first-elected-president

What was initially reported: Singapore’s first elected and longest-serving president, Mr S R Nathan, died peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital at 9.48pm yesterday, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Edited: Singapore’s longest-serving president, Mr S R Nathan, died peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital at 9.48pm yesterday, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The online versions of both articles were subsequently amended without acknowledging the error.

The online version of CNA article was subsequently amended without acknowledging the error, while the ST article has acknowledged its error and apologised to the readers for its mistake.

However, ST’s piece will have the dubious honour of living on for good in hard copy form.

And this is not the first error ST committed. In another article on Aug. 23, ST quoted someone who said he voted for SR Nathan in the presidential election even though the two-term president had run unopposed twice.

For the record, the first president to be popularly elected through the people’s vote was Ong Teng Cheong in the 1993 presidential election.

He was the fifth president of the Republic of Singapore and is fondly remembered after his death as “the people’s president”.

Ong passed away on Feb. 8, 2002.

 

Related article:

Eagle-eyed netizen caught man lying to Straits Times about S R Nathan

Redditor’s story of S R Nathan during a parade captures exactly what made him so special

In memory: Ong Teng Cheong, S’pore’s only people’s president, passed away 14 years ago

 

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