She requested not to reveal her identity. But TNP did not listen!

One of my blog readers forward to me the SMU President’s message regarding the H1N1 case. Nothing special about the message, just the normal updating of what is happening and what the students should take note of. But I just want to quote 1 paragraph from the President’s message.

The affected student has requested that we not reveal her identity. We request all members of SMU to respect her request and her privacy.

Did The New Paper listen? No, they happily publish the girls name on 28 May 2009’s printed edition and the article can now be found on their online version. Shame on you TNP! And shame on the person who told the reporter the patient’s name. (Regardless if you are from SMU or not) You have no respect for the privacy of the poor girl who is recovering from H1N1 now. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Do help spread the message. Say no to irresponsible reporting!
If you have a copy of TNP, throw into the dustbin, take a photo and post it online.
If you don’t have a copy, please don’t purposely go buy a copy just to throw into the dustbin hor. Don’t let them earn that 70 cents.

PS: Some of you asked me to publish the name of the reporters who wrote the article. I’ve decided not to scoop to their level. They know who they are.

32 Responses to 'She requested not to reveal her identity. But TNP did not listen!'

  1. Jacelyn says:

    Man, that sucked. This shows how shallow TNP is. I have tons of TNP at home which belongs to my dad. I shall do the same thing.

    Jacelyn’s last blog post..Survey on Smartphones – Stand a Chance to Win!

  2. Antoinette says:

    She will win if she sues them :)

  3. dk says:

    Antoinette: Legally, TNP didn’t do anything wrong. But ethically they are wrong. So I doubt she has a case if she wants to sue them.

  4. Antoinette says:

    Isn’t it like slander/defamation though? Where you weren’t supposed to put the person’s name if it affects your reputation negatively?

  5. DK says:

    Antoinette: as much as I wish she could sue TNP for that article, but I doubt she has any case for this.

    DK’s last blog post..She requested not to reveal her identity. But TNP did not listen!

  6. Jazz Lin says:

    I think we have to take a step back to consider the possibility that TNP was not informed that the name should not be revealed, after all message-relay systems do break down. Such things can and do happen and I don’t think TNP reporters would blatantly ignore the patient’s request had they known it.

    Upon the maturity of the readers, the reporting of the patient’s name should be used to show concern for her rather than to point fingers at her. Newspapers place the information in the hands of readers and subsequently, it is the choice of the readers how to react to it and the direction in which news moves.

    Even if TNP had not reported it, it would be naive to think that her identity could have been kept a secret for long. What then when her name is revealed after a month or two, would the responses of the readers who have thus far been hurling abuse at her be different? It could very well be worse after the period of suppression with no one to point fingers at.

  7. zzz says:

    i agree w jazz lin. every1 is making a mountain out of a molehill

  8. dk says:

    Jass Lin (IP Address As I’ve replied to you on my other blog entry when your nick is still known as either Mimosa, hello? or Ngauw. As a responsible media, TNP shouldn’t publish the name of the first patient, regardless if they know or don’t know the request by the patient.

    Why the media shouldn’t publish her name? Let me give you a worse case scenario. Let’s say we are unlucky and patient 0’s virus spread to another person and that person passed away. Patient 0 recovers and few years down the road, she went to apply for a job. The job interviewer google for her name and found the TNP article. So happen that the job interviewer is related to the person who passed away. Do you think he will employ her?

    That is just a worse case scenario. It is totally unnecessary to publish her name. ST didn’t publish her name. CNA didn’t publish her name. Today didn’t publish her name. So why does TNP need to publish her name? What’s the point?

  9. dk says:

    ZZZ: You are the best among all lor. Your IP address is also And you are agreeing with yourself, Jazz Lin?

    Hello, please. If you want to multi-nick on my blog, have least have the decency to borrow your colleague’s computer or bring your laptop to a nearby McDonalds and login to another WIFI network so that your IP address will not be the same.

    I was quite surprised how come suddenly got so many TNP supporters come to my blog. From yesterday night till today, twitter and blog entries are all slamming TNP for publishing the gal’s name.

    Bloody hell, all the same person with the same IP address. Creating multi-nick here to give everyone the impression that there are actually a group of people who supported TNP’s irresponsible action. But sorry, you need to work on your multi-nick skill.

    I assume Jazz Lin is your real identity since that is the only one with Gavatar picture. Shame on you Jazz Lin!

    And don’t let me find out if you are any way related to TNP. That will confirm be another huge public backslash.

  10. dk says:

    Jazz Lin: You are indeed related to TNP. Your IP address is from SPH.

    Shame on you!

  11. DK says:

    There might be a possibility that 5 people from SPH network commented, not multi nick.

    DK’s last blog post..Someone using SPH IP Address to multi nick on my blog and defend TNP

  12. Jazz Lin says:

    Hi DK, I have not acknowledged nor denied that I am or am not affiliated to SPH. But one thing is for sure, I am not in any way in the know about Mimosa or the several others you are aligning me with. And therefore, I also will not be able to tell if you if they are the same person or not.

    In no way was I related with the reporting of the patient in mention and I have no stakes in supporting what was reported.

    I am merely stating what I think to be possibilities that in your anger, which is legit also, you may have neglected to consider.

    Instead of shaming me, I do encourage you to rationalize with me, here or in e-mail, and I shall not hesitate to hear you out, and please tell me if I stand corrected.


  13. Jazz Lin says:

    Oh yes, and I have no idea who zzz is either.

  14. dk says:

    Jazz Lin: Thank you for coming forward and telling us that you are from SPH. Sorry for thinking that you are doing multi-nick. My mistake here. ZZZ is your colleague, judging from the IP address.

    I disagree with your argument that revealing the name can be used to show concern for her rather than to point fingers at her. If that is the case, why does the court stop the media from publishing the names of the victims in some cases?

    I think enough people have commented on my blog saying that they feel that TNP shouldn’t be publishing the patient’s name. There is no excuse for TNP to publish the gal’s name.

  15. Jazz Lin says:

    I guess in the media, there’s an issue about writing faceless articles. And in the case of court cases, it applies mostly if the person/people involved are underaged and if naming the person will influence the judgement of the case.

    And really, while I agree TNP could have not named the patient, do you honestly think it could have been kept a secret for long? And I’m not sure what would have turned out better if her name was later disclosed than now.

    I personally have no idea if TNP received the aforementioned gag order on the patient’s name.

    I also think the people doing the flaming are taking the news the wrong way. Because even without the name, they would still be labelling her and engaging in meaningless finger-pointing that would destructs more than helps society.

    What do you think?


  16. dk says:

    Jazz Lin: Even if her name might be revealed by some irresponsible people few months down the road, it still doesn’t mean that TNP is right by publishing the name now. If everyone is responsible by not revealing her name, I don’t see why it won’t be kept a secret.

  17. Jazz Lin says:

    Ah well, to each his own I guess. I may be cynical but I honestly don’t believe anything at all can be kept a secret for long. Whether through her friends, or airport or hospital staff, it will be revealed, whether we like it or not.

    I’m not saying TNP is correct in publishing the name, or that in simply being the first it is ok. But what has been done, has been done, and the only way to move is forward.

    Definitely people can stop buying TNP, and take pictures of the paper in bins, but I wonder if there is a way to change, gradually if not asap, the way Singaporeans react to such victims.

    What say you?

  18. yongwei says:

    hey DK, got facebook group yet?

  19. dk says:

    Jazz Lin: I agree with you that what is done is done. But that doesn’t me we should just keep quiet about it and let TNP continue to make such mistakes.

    Likewise, I also wonder if there is a way to change, gradually if not asap, the way Mainstream Media report such cases.

    I think everyone who spoken up on this topic wishes to see the change. And I really think TNP should apologise to everyone for the distasteful report on the H1N1 virus. Not only to the first H1N1 patient, also to the first SARS patients and the responsible netizen in Singapore who had play their part.

  20. tdo says:


    I agree with dk and I think media should have the responsibility not to reveal the girl’s name as it is unethical to do so and there could be unintended consequences that needs to be considered. I think there is too much sensationalism in TNP.

  21. Poisonvine says:

    Jazz Lin:

    Thanks for coming forward to discuss this matter and I hope that we will all learn something about ethical reporting, be it on the mainstream media or on the new media.

    I agree with you that the name of the patient won’t be kept secret forever, but ideally the name of the patient should be limited to people who are acquaintances of the patient who are more likely to have a genuine stake and interest in the identity of the patient because either

    1) the patient might have come into contact with some people whom may not realise that they are at a higher risk of being infected

    2) these people are friends or family and truly show concern towards the patient

    The point I hope to drive here is the issue of privacy. I agree that there are many irresponsible and immature people who make thoughtless comments that hurt, and such reaction and behaviour is something which leaves much to be desired. This is a fact which will not change even if TNP does not report the name of the patient.

    However, if the patient’s name is not reported and thus not widely known, people making these comments would not be able to target their comments personal and directed at the patient, and the impact or trauma on the patient might be significantly lesser. Hence, I think by not reporting the name, whether by request or not, it is simply respecting the patient’s privacy which is a basic right that I think all of us should be entitled to.

    In particular, I strongly sympathize with the SARS patient mentioned in the TNP article. While drawing parallels with previous cases is not uncommon in newspaper articles, TNP may want to consider how much trauma it will cause to the SARS patient who lost both her parents. Furthermore, by mentioning the name again such that readers remember exactly who she is, TNP is further aggravating her emotional wound.

    As such, to prevent unnecessary disturbances to the patients involved, I feel that all media, including TNP, should refrain from publishing the names of the patients anymore. We should respect them and show support for them as they engage in the fight against such potent diseases.

  22. Mike Wee says:

    hey .. its always easy for TNP to push it away to say they don’t know.. maybe i can also say that the reporter or editor does know .. but based on possibilities of claiming that they don’t know and thus decided to publish the names. in event of being blamed i just say “i don’t know?”

    its so simple. and yet unethical

  23. soojenn says:

    Publishing the name when it should not is incorrect period. Irregardless of if the name will finlly leak out, TNP should know better.

    Perhaps it was trying to be the first – with the name. Breaking news…?

    Shame on TNP and especially since it is mainstream, supposed to be professional. But noadays, you never know.. professionalism with MSM in Singapore – maybe in another century.

    Good that you figured out most of the supporters appear to be from SPH.. well, it has already happened at the various other sites

  24. K says:

    The New Paper has more than 500,000 readers, according to Nielsen Media Index in 2007. Whoever leaked the name, would not have a reach as large as TNP’s to aggravate the exposure. Indeed, we should move on, but what good is it if we do not hear from TNP what the rationale is for disclosure despite her request? Was permission sought before doing so?

  25. PaulT says:

    Reprehensible conduct. But what’s the use of complaining; they won’t change! And who to write a letter to? Another newspaper … haha, yeh right!

  26. ntukia says:

    What to do? It had happened? Let’s move on…..


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