Singapore raps Taiwanese talk show for inaccuracies

The Singapore Trade Office (STO) in Taipei has taken a local current affairs talk show to task for "inaccuracies and misleading arguments" in its recent coverage of Singapore.

On Dec 9, Mr James Tai, the host of News Tornado, claimed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would cane the 27 men arrested for the Little India riot. "We want to point out that Prime Minister Lee did not make this comment," the STO, which represents Singapore's interests in Taiwan, said in a statement yesterday.

"Instead, Prime Minister Lee wrote on his Facebook page on Dec 9 that 'We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law'."

It also pointed out that on Dec 10, a News Tornado commentator "erroneously said Singapore government officers are allowed to change locks of public housing units indiscriminately, and that during the dengue season, the officers are allowed to pick locks and enter private residences to check for stagnant water and issue summonses".

"These are inaccurate and misleading," the STO said. "Singapore government officers enter vacant premises to check for mosquito breeding only if the situation warrants it, such as when there is a cluster of dengue fever cases in an area and the owner cannot be contacted; and when there are strong indications that there is mosquito breeding within the premises and the owner cannot be contacted."

News Tornado is a two-hour talk show under the CtiTV cable network company. It airs Mondays to Fridays at 9pm. The show's producers had made clarifications on its Facebook page last Friday, apparently after receiving numerous complaints from viewers from Singapore and Malaysia.

But the STO said the clarifications "had failed to address all the inaccuracies and misleading arguments" and there were "many more other inaccurate, misleading and baseless points made in reference to Singapore" during the Dec 9 and Dec 10 episodes.

"However, we do not intend to make a point-by-point correction. We hope that CtiTV will exercise due diligence and be more responsible in its future reporting," the STO said.

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