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Singapore media companies serve ‘broader mission’, says minister

(Photo: CNA)

Singapore media companies serve a “broader mission” beyond commercial success, playing an important role in informing and engaging citizens, the Communications and Information Minister, Josephine Teo, has said.

Mrs Teo was speaking during a debate in parliament, Channel NewsAsia reports.

“Our local media, like media outlets across the world, have seen their advertising and subscription revenue drastically reduced, buffeted by the rise of digital content platforms and new avenues for free content,” she said.

While Singapore’s local media companies – Mediacorp and SPH Media – enjoyed “good reach” of 96 percent of Singaporeans, Mrs Teo said there were no “easy answers” on how to monetise this reach.

“We hope that they can become self-sustaining, but it remains to be seen whether or when this can happen.”

This was why the government was putting its support behind SPH Media Trust, she said. The government announced last month that it would provide the company with up to Singapore $900 million (US$661 million) in funding over the next five years.

Turning to how the media could better meet the needs of different demographics, Mrs Teo pointed out how Mediacorp was working with its news broadcasters, as well as clan associations, to identify new talent to sustain dialect radio news broadcasts.

She said Mediacorp was also producing an animation series on sustainability and environmental awareness, to help families understand why it was important and how they could contribute.

“Left to the free market, such programmes are unlikely to be viable. I, therefore, urge members to give our local media and journalists the fullest support because they deserve it,” she said.