Friday, July 5, 2013

Yahoo News is the balance?

The major alternative news source in Singapore, Yahoo News, will comply with new MDA regulations and apply for accreditation while a group of bloggers continue to make their dissatisfaction known.

Peeling away the layers, it is obvious that the new regulations were enacted to have some sort of control over Yahoo. But it seems Yahoo is not resisting, at least not publicly. It has more than 1 million visitors a day, its news coverage is saucy and different from what is covered by the mainstream media. Readers like their approach (good mix of hard and soft news) and know that they can find alternative viewpoints at Yahoo.

If you want to hear more opposition views during GE or By-E, go to Yahoo. If you want to know what WP say about the town council saga, go to Yahoo. Latest about the Cherian George's tenure rejection, don't bother asking Mr George, go to Yahoo. It's free, it's easily accessible and it's an different read.And it irks the PAP.

Though, Yahoo wouldn't be too pleased to sign away their rights, they're glad that bloggers are making noise on the sidelines and they are happy to feature them. On Yahoo's part, they would just have to abide, appear cooperative to the government and continue to generate advertising revenue.

Sometimes, punters would say TRS, Temasek Times or even the forums are the balance to state-controlled media. But they are not. They are only fringe actors. They represent the constant 15% that would vote for any guy not wearing white on white. Most Singaporeans read them with a high sodium diet. And the government wouldn't shut these down, else they might not know where to look for them.

Still lesser Singaporeans read TOC and Public House. They are a good read with worthy ideas to contemplate, but not many will find them fitting in the materialistic cosmos of Singapore. 

The shifting middle of the road Singaporeans, many of them eventually voting WP, read and analyse mainstream media together with alternative sources like Yahoo and international media. And as long as Yahoo can generate readership, stay profitable, there is not much the government can do except asking them for “registration” and make them remove clearly defamatory comments. Legal action on such a popular website will only stir the hornet's nest.

The search for alternative news, views and politics in Singapore will continue. A gladiator arena is no spectator sport with just one dominant actor. What is unfortunate for Singapore is, the main opposition, WP, does not have a clear online agenda and the main alternative online news portal, Yahoo, is a form of neo-imperialism American corporate power.