I don’t buy The New Paper on a regularly basis. But I purposely went around searching for a copy of 28 May 2009 issue of TNP after hearing from someone on twitter saying that TNP published the name of the first Singaporean girl who caught the H1N1 virus. At first I didn’t believe the twitter-er. I thought the media were told not to publish the name of the lady who caught the H1N1 virus. I thought they would be responsible enough. I was wrong. TNP really published the name of the lady who caught H1N1 virus.
Shame on you TNP!
Why is there a need to publish the name of the girl who caught the H1N1 virus? Is there a need to publish her name? We all know your reporters are good at news investigations. There is no need to proof to us that you have the abilities to find out the girl’s name. It is not her fault that she caught the H1N1 virus. You think she want to catch the virus? You think she want to bring the virus back to Singapore and spread it in Singapore? Come on, she is the victim here. Why did you publish her name and subject her to public shaming when she is not at fault? How do you think her family and love ones will feel? What will her friends think about her after this incident? I’m very disgusted by the irresponsible reporting by The New Paper. Shame on you!
And to add on to the article, TNP also reminded us the name of the first Singapore gal who caught SARS by publishing her name again after 6 years. For those who have forgotten, she caught SARS at a time when nobody knew anything about that virus. She was the BIGGEST victim of the SARS virus in Singapore. Not only has her name been published by all the mainstream media in Singapore, she was also labelled as the “super spreader” because she spread the SARS virus to many other Singaporeans. Her father, mother and a few friends passed away after they caught the SARS virus from her. But if you think about it, it is totally not her fault for catching the SARS virus. It is also not her fault that she spread the virus to others. It is not her fault that the SARS virus killed her loved ones. She is the innocent party and the biggest victim. Why did the media publish her name back in 2003 and label her as the “super spreader”? Put yourself into her shoes. She has already lost her love ones because of SARS. How would you feel if you in her position? Why is there a need for TNP to publish the name of SARS patient 0 again? Why is there a need to make reference to her? Why the need to publish her name again? Did TNP think about her feelings when they were writing about her? Shame on you!
I still remember someone writing to the mainstream media and criticized all the media for their irresponsible reporting during the SARS. It is totally unnecessary to name the first person who caught the SARS virus and subject her to public scrutiny and shaming. I thought the mainstream media already learn the lesson from their past experience. Well, most of the mainstream media did learnt from the lesson and decided not to publish the name of the first H1N1 patient. Except for TNP. Shame on you!
And to sensationalize the story, The New Paper wrote this on the front page: “ZERO TOLERANCE? NETIZENS FLAME S’PORE’S FIRST H1N1 VICTIM. SUE HER, SAY SOME”. I was quite shocked to see this. I thought Singapore netizens have become more mature and responsible recently. In fact, I didn’t came across any blog/forum/twitter that flame the girl. Curious to find out who is the black sheep among the netizen, I read the article. It appears that all the netizen being mentioned in the article are from Stomp. My first reaction was “What else do you expect from Stomp?”. Stompers are famous for such irresponsible posting. Just browse thru the site and you will surely shake your head in disbelief. There have been calls to shut down stomp because of all the irresponsible posting by the Stompers and lack of regulations. Stomp is not a representation of the Singapore netizen. The culture there is totally different from what you see in the rest of Singapore blogs/forums/twitter/plurk. The rest of Singapore netizen are becoming more and more mature and responsible in the things they say.
And like many Singapore netizen, I heard about the first H1N1 case from Twitter. Everyone on twitter is re-tweeting about the first H1N1 case to warn the rest. One of the most re-tweeted message is a message by FluSingapore, a twitter account set up by Singapore Health Promotion Board.
RT @FluSingapore Passengers on SQ25 on 26 May from NY to SG (arrival 6.30am) seated in rows 52 to 58, pls contact MOH at 1800-333 9999.
A lot of Singapore Twitter-er re-tweet that message because we know that we need to find those people as soon as possible to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading in Singapore. We know that it will be too late to wait for the main stream media. We re-tweet that message so that those people who are following us but not following FluSingapore can get the message too and pass it around. Hopefully thru the word of mouth, this crucial information will reach those passengers before anymore damages are done. Did TNP report about these responsible netizens who play their part in the fight against the H1N1 virus? Does TNP know that Singapore Health Promotion Board has already been prepared for the H1N1 virus by setting up @FluSingapore twitter accout a couple of weeks back so that they can broadcast information about the H1N1 virus to Singapore twitter-er? Does TNP knows that more than 300 Singaporean Twitter-ers are following @FluSingapore so that they can get first hand information about H1N1, and when there is a need, help spread the message to the rest of Singapore? No, TNP doesn’t know that Singapore netizen has been mature and responsible during the H1N1 crisis. All TNP does is to report just the irresponsible comments in Stomp and sensationalize the whole story. Shame on you!
And the entire TNP article didn’t even provide the most important information: Her flight number. As a responsible media, it is your duty to broadcast important information like these so that the people who might have close contact with patient 0 can take extra precaution and visit the doctor immediately if they have any flu like symptoms. But no, TNP didn’t report the flight number and row number. All they are interested in is to tell the whole world the name of the first Singaporean who caught the H1N1 virus. Shame on you!
Everyone played their part when news about the first H1N1 case in Singapore broke. The patient did the right thing by going to the doctor when she is feeling unwell. The doctor did the right thing by sending her to TTSH. Health minister did the right thing by getting everyone prepared weeks before the incident. The patient’s boyfriend did the right thing by isolating himself because he is afraid he might had caught the H1N1 virus too. HPB and MOH did the right thing by being well prepared for the first H1N1 case. Netizen did the right thing by spreading the message on twitter, forums and blog. The mainstream media did the right thing by reporting the story responsibly. All except for The New Paper who choose to publish the name of H1N1 patient 0, the name of SARS patient 0 again and slamming local “netizen” for flaming patient 0. Shame on you! All the reporters and editors involved in this article should be ashamed of themselves for such irresponsible article!
I stop reading the rest of The New Paper after reading the 4 page H1N1 report. I feel very disgusted by the irresponsible reporting by the reporters at The New Paper. I’ve thrown my copy of The New Paper where I think it should belong.
I’ve decided to stop buying The New Paper from today onwards until TNP apologise for the irresponsible reporting on 25 May 2009. Join me if you think that the H1N1 article by TNP is irresponsible. Help spread the words and say no to irresponsible reporting.
Update 29 May 2009, 12pm: Someone just told me that the article is now available on the online version of TNP. Which means that if someone google on her name, they might see that article by TNP. Shame on you TNP!
Update 29 May 2009, 3pm: The girl who caught the H1N1 virus requested not to reveal her identity. But TNP did not listen. Shame on you TNP!