Forum: Better indicator of press freedom is readers' trust in mainstream media

I am perplexed that Singapore ranks 160th in the 2021 edition of the Reporters Without Borders' annual World Press Freedom Index (Ranking 'based on country's media laws, not quality', Feb 18). We are ranked below some countries where people live under tyranny.

Singapore's rating should not be adversely affected by its passing of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act and the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act.

Instead, how readers assess the media should be a key indicator in determining the level of press freedom in a country.

As one who follows events in the region closely and who reads local media, I believe that Singapore's newspapers have always presented balanced news and commentaries.

Singaporeans are educated and knowledgeable, and can see things in the right perspective as well as analyse events as reported in the media.

In other words, Singaporean readers are able to make their own judgment on what is written; newspapers cannot force readers to believe what they have published.

Also, newspapers will not attract readership if they are seen as not having a free hand to report news without fear or favour.

I believe most Singaporeans are discerning readers and have placed their trust in the mainstream newspapers for their responsible and objective news coverage.

I think this is a fair and accurate indicator of press freedom.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

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