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Book gives insider's account of govt-media relations

Published on Oct 20, 2012 6:00 AM

From strikes by journalists in the 1960s that won them a five-day week to the merger of the Chinese newspapers in the 1980s, and the day the People's Action Party lost its absolute dominance of Parliament in 1981, former Straits Times editor Cheong Yip Seng has given an insider's account of government-media relations in a new book launched on Friday.

In OB Markers: My Straits Times Story, the veteran journalist takes readers behind the scenes, from private Istana lunches to conversations with top government leaders that shaped the media landscape today.

But in retelling the past, Mr Cheong - who rose from rookie reporter to editor-in-chief of the Singapore Press Holdings' English and Malay Newspapers Division over an illustrious 43 years - also hopes to show that the media scene is changing for the better.

The tough "knuckleduster" approach adopted by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the 1960s and 1970s had given way to a "hard sell" of the government line by its leaders in the 1980s, he said. And with the political landscape changing rapidly, the Government's heavy-handed approach of the past would inevitably lighten over time.

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