TNP responds to baseless, malicious attacksTHE New Paper has become the target of malicious online attacks after the paper exposed Dr Joseph Ong Chor Teck's links to the anti-establishment site Temasek Review in an Aug 9 report last year.
The people behind the website had remained anonymous until Dr Ong's identity came to light following a smear campaign he launched against a Member of Parliament in May 2009.
After investigating a lead, TNP reported on Aug 9 last year that Dr Ong had admitted to the police that he was behind the posters which showed the MP's photograph on the cover of a toilet bowl and had called for her to step down from a national sports association.
The New Paper reported that Dr Ong had also identified himself to the police as being the founder of Wayang Party and later, Temasek Review.
The police confirmed that a subject was administered a conditional stern warning for the offence of "intentional harassment".
A conditional warning requires, among other things, that the offender maintain a clean record for a specified period, typically about 12 months.
If he commits another offence, he can be charged with the new offence as well as the previous one.
Soon after the police started investigating the matter in 2009, Wayang Party was closed down and Temasek Review was launched.
Dr Ong, a former Raffles Junior College student, graduated from medical school in 2004 and had worked with a government agency before be became a GP in a private clinic.
After TNP's report surfaced, netizens started setting up anti-TR sites and blogs to expose TR and hit back at the site, which they claimed had launched smear campaigns against individuals in the past.
The conflict took a twist with a foreign blogger claiming he had a sex video of someone linked to TR. The 10-minute video, posted last October, purportedly shows the TR man having sex with an unknown woman.
But the man later claimed in an e-mail to the blogger that his face was superimposed in the "doctored" video, although he said he would not be making a police report about it.
He has also asked the blogger to remove the video but the blogger refuses to do so.
Instead, the man's e-mail was posted on the blog, a move not missed by netizens who say that this was TR's own tactic when it received complaints in the past.
The New Paper editor Dominic Nathan addresses online attacks against the paper
Why is TNP the target of online abuse?
It started last year, about the time we exposed Dr Joseph Ong Chor Teck's links to the Temasek Review website.
Since then, the paper and a few of its journalists have been the targets of malicious, unsubstantiated and often personal attacks launched by people hiding behind the anonymity of cyberspace.
The paper is always prepared to defend its stories, and journalists have a pretty thick hide and can roll with the punches when people take on their arguments.
But these attacks have been below the belt and the journalists have been harassed online and over the phone after their personal details were made public.
Why are you responding now?
The latest attack last week was levelled against a long-time tradition of The New Paper to promote education among youth and young working adults.
Every year, TNP works with public and private educational institutions to produce a series of guides for our readers to help them decide on their next course of study.
These guides are distributed together with the day's edition of TNP.
As a value-added service provided by the educational institutions featured in the supplement, a number of complimentary copies are distributed in selected areas to help make more people aware of the educational opportunities available to them.
The latest guide on adult education was distributed last Wednesday and this had nothing to do with online claims that Temasek Review's attacks on TNP have hurt the paper's sales.
Popular young politician Nicole Seah has posted a detailed statement of account of her team’s election expenses in Marine Parade GRC on her Facebook which includes an overview of the campaign expenses incurred over the campaign period as well as the list of donors who donated to her team. (read more here)
Despite the feeble attempts of the state media to derail her fund-raising attempts by casting doubts on its legality, Nicole still managed to raise a total of $46,568.63, more than the initial $35,000 she asked for.
When Nicole started her fund-raising campaign by asking Singaporeans to channel their donations to her personal bank account, the English tabloid The New Paper under its infamous deputy editor Melvin Singh started a smear campaign against her.
In an article published on 21 May 2011, TNP insinuated that Nicole is not raising funds via the ‘proper’ way and even quoted an anonymous netizen as saying that she would ‘run away with the money and leave her party’ which was reproduced in the two Chinese tabloids. (read article here)
TNP’s ‘gutter journalism’ sparked a massive outcry among netizens with many calling on Nicole to sue the lowly tabloid for outright slander and defamation.
Melvin Singh is most remembered for writing a misleading article on SDP’s Dr Chee Soon Juan leading a non-existent ‘protest march’ after an election rally at Jurong East stadium when he was merely shaking hands with his supporters. (read more here)
He wrote another article a few days later claiming that it was SDP candidate for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Michelle Lee who tipped him off about the ‘march’ as she did not want to get into trouble with the law. Ms Lee later denied making such statements to Melvin Singh on her Facebook. (read more here)
Melvin Singh’s blatant lies sparked a massive outcry among netizens calling him to apologize for disseminating falsehoods to smear SDP, but he subsequently issued a statement in The Straits Times proclaiming that he “stand by his story.”
A Facebook page was set up calling for a boycott of TNP and has garnered more than 8,100 ‘likes’ so far, more than the number of ‘likes’ on TNP’s official Facebook page itself.
Besides Nicole Seah and Dr Chee, Melvin Singh was also responsible for ’smearing’ Dr Vincent Wijeysingha (SDP), Spencer Ng (NSP) and Chen Show Mao (WP) as well.
Now that the truth is out, Nicole should consider taking legal action against TNP to prevent more innocent patriotic Singaporeans from becoming victims of Melvin Singh’s ‘poisoned pen’.
You can provide your ‘feedback’ to Melvin Singh below:
Office: (65) 6319 5567
Email: [email protected]