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Speech: I will outline a brief history of the 2004 merger which effectively ended any competition of Singapore broadcasting.

Competition between the two media giants SPH and MediaCorp had previously dented both companies profits. SPHs net profit fell 20.3 percent to $163 million in the six months ended February 28, 2002; MediaCorps net loss for the year ended March 2002 widened from $19 million to $119 million. To curb losses, the two media player announced a deal in September 2004. SPH agreed to give up its TV Channels to MediaCorp in turn for a 20 percent stake in a new TV joint venture. It also agreed to close its lossmaking free tabloid Streats in exchange for a 40 percent stake in MediaCorp Press, the publisher of Today. After this merger of MediaCorp TV and SPH MediaWorks, MediaCorp, the first local broadcaster, once again became the monopoly in the free-to-air terrestrial channels broadcasting market. Private ownership of satellite dishes is illegal although international TV channels are available on StarHub Cable Vison or now Singapore Cable Vison. Singapore Cable Vision is the Singapore only cable television subscriber and its parent company Starhub Pty Ltd is also partially owned by the government. Aranda Investments, who's parent is a Temasek, has a stake in Starhub.Personnel and officials in broadcast media entities are often connected to PAP governmentowned entities: Starhubs chief operating officer Yong Lum Sung has previously worked in the government-linked Singapore Technologies group. One of MediaCorps directors is Ho Kwon Ping, who is also the chairman of the board of trustees of the private but government-funded Singapore Management University. Another director, Soo Kok Leng, is also chairman of the government-linked company JTC Corporation. MediaWorks executive director Wee Leong How is a panel member of the Singapore governments Industrial Arbitration Court. Chief financial officer Kwek Buck Chye was also the CFO of Singapore Technologies Telemedia. Philip Tan, head of Starhubs Operations & Support, had also worked for the Ministry of Defence. In one generation, Singapore has transformed from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost into one of the four " Asian Tigers. Singapores ruling party, the Peoples Action Party (PAP), has been central to the city-states rapid political, social, and economic development. Against this background of vibrant competition and rapid development is the political culture of Singapore, Political culture of Singapore is often characterised as Confucian, paternalistic and softauthoritarian. Although Singapore is a parliamentary democracy with multiparty general elections held every six years, the exploitation resources under its control has seen the PAP successful in demolishing any alternative political agenda. The PAPs leadership lies on the premise that order and prosperity are incompatible with a high degree of personal freedom. Singapore is economically liberal and politically quasi-authoritarian. The Singapore press does not subscribe to the libertarian model of press system in which the press is given virtually unfettered freedom. The press role is to support, not challenge, the

government. Media censorship, the license system and tough laws weaken/limit, instead of protecting, press freedom. The Media Development Authority was created in 2003 to develop Singapore into a vibrant global media city as well as foster a creative economy and a connected society. Building on its achievements since then, the MDA is now working towards transforming Singapore into a Trusted Global Capital for New Asia Media, as stated on Media 21 Blueprint (2003). The MDA exercises censorship directly through a code of practice while the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts does so indirectly. Under a penalty framework, announced in November 1998 and May 1999 respectively, breaches of the codes may result in a fine from S$1,000 (US$600) to S$50,000 (US$30,000), depending on severity.The MDA states that it involves the community and incorporate its views, by setting up several advisory committees. These include the Program Advisory Committee, as well as three advisory committees with specific responsibilities for programs in the three ethnic languages-Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The extent of the effect these committees have, however, is questionable. The encouragement of local TV productions is a part of the strategic thrusts of the MDA. As Ive mentioned, the MDA envisions Singapore as a Global Media City where not only nurtures homegrown media enterprises but also attracts direct foreign investments. In line with its vision, the MDA lays out six strategies, including establishing Singapore a media exchange, exporting made-bySingapore content, deploying digital media, internationalizing Singapore media enterprises, augmenting media talent, and fostering a conducive business and regulatory environment (MDA, 2003). Lets look at the rationale behind the governments control on media. Because elected government receives the peoples mandate, it can define the responsibility of the press, as well as the limits on press freedom. Ultimately, it is the government, not the media, that is seen as accountable to the people. Hence, the government has both the moral and legal authority to act as the final arbiter when a disagreement arises between the government and the media. This control is seen as justifiable as Singapore is vulnerable with a multicultural and and multi-religious population. Furthermore, national survival and conscensus building are accepted as top priorities at this stage of nation building, the development journalism model adopted by Singaporean media is seen as important in this process. Singaporean leaders justify stringent laws and measures by stressing the uniqueness and vulnerability of Singapore society, as well as a set of characteristically Singaporean or Asian values. Asian values are the cultural orientations unique to the Asian region that form the base of their political, economic, and cultural institutions and practices (Bell 1997). According to Asian values proponents, because of Confucian traditions, East Asian societies are famillistic, communitarian and accept hierarchic authority characteristics that promote order and consensus. In contrast, Western societies are seen as rightsbased and individualistic-- characteristics that are congruent with the competitive elements of a democratic system (Dalton & Ong 2005). Critics of Asian values argue that the claim for soft authoritarianism as a legitimate

modernity is an attempt to suppress basic human rights that transcend cultural peculiarities (Bell 1997).

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