Workers' Party candidate Daniel Goh gives account of interaction with media over poison pen letter

Mr Daniel Goh at a Workers' Party press conference, on Aug 26, 2015.
Mr Daniel Goh at a Workers' Party press conference, on Aug 26, 2015.PHOTO: BT FILE

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party (WP) new candidate, National University of Singapore sociologist Daniel Goh, has given an account of what happened on Thursday after the poison pen letter accusing him of having an extra-marital affair in 2008 was sent to several media organisations and the opposition party.

He outlined his interactions with various media outlets and also repeated a call to move on and debate the issues. Earlier on Friday, Dr Goh had lodged a police report at the Serangoon Neighbourhood Police Centre.

This is what he wrote on Facebook on Friday afternoon:

"Hello everyone, again and I hope this will be the last on this matter. I understand there is a lot of attack on our mainstream media for reporting on the poison pen letter.

"First, I should clarify that It was Lianhe Zaobao that broke the news, and not the Straits Times or others. In my communication with the Zaobao journalist last night, I was given till a certain time to refute the poison pen letter or the story will have to go to print. The story went online some time before the time given to me. This forced my hand to respond to the baseless allegations and rumours. Once I made the public statement to refute the allegations, the other media outlets reported the statement, and thus the rumours. The ST journalist did tell me that ST would not publish rumours unless I was making a public statement.

"I met the Zaobao journalists today for a scheduled interview, which was a wonderful conversation actually. The interview will be published tomorrow. The journalists were personally apologetic about last night and I give them the benefit of the doubt that there was no malice involved. I do not intend to cancel my subscription to both papers. I hope that our underdeveloped media institutions will grow in professionalism and ethical standards, and I engage them with this expectation and hope. They are part of the equation to empower your future.

"But our media institutions will not develop if we keep slamming them over this. A colleague notified me that a reporter called him up to ask about the rumours. Apparently the public flaming for reporting rumours is causing some to desperately try to verify the rumours. This crosses another professional and ethical line. Our media system is broken, but I trust we have good journalists in it from my interactions so far. We should debate and discuss how to fix it. Flaming the media and the journalists will not help. Let's move on to rationally debate the issues, including our media system, let's keep calm and hammer on."