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Friday, May 06, 2005

Channel NewsAsia on AcidFlask 

Channel NewsAsia is attracting caustic comments from Singapore bloggers. The reasons? Its slow response on the AcidFlask affair and its allegedly unbalanced reporting. It’s enough to make Gilbert Koh come out of retirement.

As usual, Huichieh Loy compiles all the reactions.

There is a wider issue here beyond Channel NewsAsia’s treatment of the AcidFlask affair. I’m referring to the standard of journalism in Singapore.

I’m not sure how much effort Channel NewsAsia puts into maintaining a high standard of journalism in its news reports, but in my opinion, its reports — at least those on its website — tend to be shallower than those of The Straits Times (which is itself not exactly an icon of journalistic professionalism). This tendency is possibly a result of its television roots, where speed — ironically — and brevity take precedence over depth and balance, at least compared with a broadsheet.

In any case, it would probably be a good idea for Channel NewsAsia to do some serious soul-searching, and not just because of this particular affair. It is in the news broadcasting business where it has to compete with the likes of BBC and CNN. While it occupies a niche — news with an Asian perspective — it is a niche that is not really difficult for its bigger competitors to invade. It needs to do everything it can to build up its credibility as a news organisation.

And looking foolish in the eyes of bloggers certainly wouldn’t help.

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