CNA censors comments on public institutions and officials

News agency AFP asked me for a comment for its report on the demands by the Attorney General for several websites and Facebook pages to remove certain postings and comments. The AG made the demands because it felt that such comments – about the judgement of 25 months jail for a Chinese national who had hijacked a taxi and subsequently killed a cleaner in an accident – would “pose a real risk that public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined.”

My comments to AFP, which it subsequently published in its report, were:

“Our public institutions and public officials should accept and allow a wider threshold for criticisms from the public, including those online.”

The AFP report was then published by several other news sites, including, New Straits Times, Yahoo Singapore, and the Nanyang Post. [Click on the names to see the reports.]

All these reports carried the AFp’s original headline too: “Singapore judiciary demands apology for web backlash“.

They all also carried the comments I made about public institutions and public officials.

And then there is the Channel Newsasia report – which apparently was an edited version of the AFP report. Indeed, the attribution at the end of the report on its website is “CNA/AFP/jc”. (I’m not sure what “jc” stands for.)

The CNA report included a re-written first paragraph, the insertion of a new paragraph, and the deletion of the following two paragraphs, including the comments I made:

Some bloggers voiced dismay with the apology demand, citing it as an example of an attempt by the government to clamp down on rising online dissent.

“Our public institutions and public officials should accept and allow a wider threshold for criticisms from the public, including those online,” Andrew Loh, a socio-political blogger, told AFP.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong in news outlets like CNA tweaking, editing or re-writing syndicated news pieces to suit its audience or its own editorial guidelines. I have no problems, really, with CNA having that prerogative. It is quite a usual practice.

My question, however, is why did it censor the remarks about our public institutions and public officials needing to have wider thresholds for criticisms, when other news sites included it in full? I would think that it is totally relevant, in light of recent incidents.

I wonder if CNA’s censorship has anything to do with the current “sensitivity” to such remarks about public institutions – and how one can genuinely question these institutions’ integrity without attracting the strong arm of the Attorney General’s Chambers.

Here’re the CNA report and the original AFP report (carried here by




2 thoughts on “CNA censors comments on public institutions and officials

  1. Mediacorp is a government owned propaganda mouthpiece. Its purpose is to serve the citizens except where it may conflict with the interests of those wielding power of government or its institutions. So yes, comments that do not glorify public institutions should be deleted so that citizens remain daft.

  2. CNA i think is also under the mida group where our goverment does its sendorship both on press n media Its time for our goverment to grow up with the flow todays public want blunt answers with point blank questions if the goverment does not changes it style in fullfilling the publice demands this same young generation would vote them out of office. Time this out spoken generation needs frank open answers not becuase u are a bigshot u can sweep everything under the carpet n feel u doing gud for the ppl or nation

    The real point this Goverement will not change it time they take us cizitiens seriously or the ballot Box would be our answers n questions
    Long live singapore for singaporean.

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