ST says TOC allegations ‘have damaged our reputation’, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

ST says TOC allegations ‘have damaged our reputation’

This article is more than 12 months old

The Straits Times (ST) has responded to The Online Citizen (TOC) for its remarks that ST publishes letters that contain falsehoods.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, TOC editor Terry Xu referred to an ST Forum letter which he said had defamed him and said: "I do not fault the writer for having the views that she had but ST should have known better than to publish a letter that contained falsehoods especially when it refers to itself as the best antibiotics to 'fake news'."

His remarks were reproduced in an article on the TOC website and shared on the TOC Facebook page.

Responding to this, a Singapore Press Holdings legal counsel said in a letter to Mr Xu yesterday: "These remarks were unfair and uncalled for, and make serious allegations that have damaged our reputation as a trusted media organisation."

On Sunday, ST had published an online Forum letter headlined "TOC must clarify its intentions". In it, letter writer Chng Hui Ling said it was disturbing that TOC's articles criticising Singapore were masqueraded as pieces written by Singaporeans.


The writer also asked why Mr Xu allows foreigners to write negative articles about Singapore and then passes them off as being written by Singaporeans, and asked the website to declare openly when the articles are written by foreigners.

On Monday, ST took down the letter following an e-mail from Mr Xu saying that the Forum writer had defamed him, and asking that the letter be taken down.

ST responded quickly, taking the letter down as a gesture of goodwill and without any admission of liability, even as it sought legal counsel. ST also did not agree with his allegations of defamation. This was conveyed to Mr Xu on Tuesday afternoon.

Before ST's reply could reach him, Mr Xu and TOC took to Facebook and TOC's website about the matter. Mr Xu made the comments about ST in a Facebook post and in an article titled "ST removes defamatory letter from site after TOC Editor issues letter of demand".

He also reposted the Forum letter which he had requested ST to take down. In light of this, ST decided to repost the Forum letter yesterday and make its position public. - THE STRAITS TIMES