Friday 20 December 2013

Singapore raps Taiwanese talk show for inaccuracies

By Lee Seok Hwai, The Straits Times, 19 Dec 2013

THE Singapore Trade Office (STO) in Taipei has taken a local current affairs talk show to task for "inaccuracies and misleading arguments" in its recent coverage of Singapore.

On Dec 9, Mr James Tai, the host of News Tornado, claimed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would cane the 27 men arrested for the Little India riot. "We want to point out that Prime Minister Lee did not make this comment," the STO, which represents Singapore's interests in Taiwan, said in a statement yesterday.

"Instead, Prime Minister Lee wrote on his Facebook page on Dec 9 that 'We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law'."

It also pointed out that on Dec 10, a News Tornado commentator "erroneously said Singapore government officers are allowed to change locks of public housing units indiscriminately, and that during the dengue season, the officers are allowed to pick locks and enter private residences to check for stagnant water and issue summonses".

"These are inaccurate and misleading," the STO said. "Singapore government officers enter vacant premises to check for mosquito breeding only if the situation warrants it, such as when there is a cluster of dengue fever cases in an area and the owner cannot be contacted; and when there are strong indications that there is mosquito breeding within the premises and the owner cannot be contacted."

News Tornado is a two-hour talk show under the CtiTV cable network company. It airs Mondays to Fridays at 9pm. The show's producers had made clarifications on its Facebook page last Friday, apparently after receiving numerous complaints from viewers from Singapore and Malaysia.

But the STO said the clarifications "had failed to address all the inaccuracies and misleading arguments" and there were "many more other inaccurate, misleading and baseless points made in reference to Singapore" during the Dec 9 and Dec 10 episodes.

"However, we do not intend to make a point-by-point correction. We hope that CtiTV will exercise due diligence and be more responsible in its future reporting," the STO said.

Taiwan airs the darndest things about Singapore
By Chew Hui Min, My Paper, 20 Dec 2013

TAIWANESE media is known for its freewheeling reporting, but one news programme's sensational broadcasts this month raised the ire of the Singapore authorities and some viewers here.

TV station CtiTV, which produces News Tornado, apologised yesterday for the episodes broadcast on Dec 9 and 10, which mistakenly said that Little India rioters will be caned, and that government officers here could break into homes indiscriminately to check for stagnant water during dengue season.

The episode on Dec 9 also went into Singapore's history, and linked the riots in Little India to racial riots of the 1960s which "turned Singapore into hell on earth", according to the programme's hosts.

Mr Jay Huang, a spokesman for CtiTV, told MyPaper yesterday in an e-mail message that they were "very sorry" for the lapses, and will make more rigorous checks on the content of their programmes in future.

The show claimed that Singapore's strict laws were inspired by the lack of crime during the Japanese Occupation.

It also said that their claim that one can be arrested and fined for speaking loudly on the MRT was based on the Rapid Transit Systems Act. But in clips uploaded on YouTube, the agitated hosts tended to stretch the truth as they dramatised the news.

Their off-hand remark that rioters would be caned was the opener to a graphic description of caning, using video footage that was not from Singapore.

News Tornado said in a Facebook post that they used Malaysian footage as they could not find any from Singapore.

The show also mentioned that one could be fined for sleeping in a park or arrested for walking around naked in one's own home in Singapore.

In its Dec 10 episode, the show alleged that Singaporeans did not even have rights to their own bodies, citing the Human Organ Transplant Act.

Text displayed on the screen during this segment said Singapore was more oppressive than the totalitarian society George Orwell depicted in 1984.

While striking an apologetic tone on Facebook, News Tornado also defended itself by saying they have done ample research on Singapore.

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