Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Misreporting by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders – they have again got their facts wrong.

In an article entitled “US blogger Gopalan Nair still waiting the outcome of trial” dated 17th June 2008, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) makes the following assertions at two different parts of the article:

“This trial is a farce. Gopalan Nair appeared today before one of the plaintiffs herself”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. (that’s a reference to RWB)

The case of “insulting” Belinda Ang Saw was heard today with the judge herself presiding over the hearing.

The second sentence is hyperlinked to an AFP article. The AFP article does not state that the matter was heard before Justice Belinda Ang. I believe that the writer of the RWB article must have misunderstood the AFP article. The following is the relevant extract from the AFP article:

In the blog, Gopalan Nair criticised a recent legal hearing at which Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, testified in a defamation case they filed against an opposition party.
Nair, 58, is charged with insulting Justice Belinda Ang Saw Ean by saying she was "prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders," a court document said.
Justice Ang presided over the hearing.

I believe that the AFP article was making the assertion that Justice Ang presided over the defamation hearing and not Mr Nair’s mention. According to Mr Chia Li Tik’s blog, the matter was mentioned at the subordinate courts on 16th June 2008 and the DPP had requested for the case to be transferred to the High Court. The case has now been fixed for further mention on 14th July 2008 at Court 26 presumably pending the fixing of a date for Pre-Trial Conference at the High Court.

RWB seems to have jumped the gun in their enthusiasm to paint a less than flattering picture. This kind of reporting does not, in any way, assist in promoting the truth.


Anonymous said...

You should email them and let them know of the error. I think the AFP report could easily be misunderstood in that way too.

Anonymous said...

According to Mr Chia Li Tik’s blog, the matter was mentioned at the subordinate courts on 16th June 2008, but did Mr Chia mention which judge was at the mention? Are you sure it's not Ang?

Unknown said...

"It then transpired that the Prosecution was already in the process of amending the 1st charge from Section 13D (1) (a) Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance) Act to Section 228 of the Penal Code. The Prosecution thereafter needed to submit the amended 1st charge for renumbering. The matter was stood down for the Amended Charge to be renumbered.

Thereafter when the Court re-mentioned the case, it turned out that the IO ASP Razak Jakaria had somehow misplaced the amended charge and the Prosecution was looking for it. There seemed to be some issue about renumbering the wrong charge by the Crime Registry. There was also the question raised by the Magistrate on the Public Prosecutor’s sanction required in for Section 228 charges to proceed."

Definitely a less than flattering picture of a First World judiciary.

Subra said...

Fair point: The AFP article can easily be misconstrued in the way that Reporters Without Borders construed it.

As for Gopalan Nair's mention, Chia Ti Lik states that the matter was before a magistrate. That would have been in the subordinate courts. Justice Belinda Ang is a High Court Judge. It is, therefore, improbable that she would have heard the case that day.

And thanks for the suggestion. I am emailing to Reporters Without Borders now.

Subra said...


Yes, it is quite humourous when you consider how our first world system displays all the usual human foibles and fumbles its way through. :-)

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Anonymous said...

gopalan nehneh is a wanker and a traitor to singapore's cause. tak boleh tahan and f*ked off all the way to the usa. u never saw JBj and CSJ giving up their citizenship

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