Parliament Sitting on 7 February 2023
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
28. Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether an external investigation on the fraud involving SPH Media circulation figures will be conducted and the report made public.
29. Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Ministry will share with the public SPH Media’s review of the overstated circulation data, including accounts provided by the executives involved in the case.
30. Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Ministry has been informed of the reasons for SPH Media not breaking the news on the overstated circulation numbers of their own accord but through media queries.
1. These questions have been addressed in my reply to Question Nos 2 to 18 for Oral Answer on the Order Paper for 6 February 2023, and to subsequent clarifications sought by Members.
In essence, the findings of circulation discrepancy for the period of SPH Media Trust’s (SMT) internal review from September 2020 to March 2022 have not resulted in the loss of public funds. There is no change to the Government’s decision to provide funding to support SMT’s capability development. There is also no change to the amount of funding as it is targeted towards technology development, talent development and the strengthening of newsrooms, particularly vernacular newsrooms.
I had also explained that certain questions would be better addressed by SMT after its Audit and Risk Committee has completed its further investigations and shared its findings. If there is evidence of fraud or other wrongdoing, SMT is obliged to do the right and lawful thing to refer to a relevant agency for follow-up.
SMT’s approach to communications both within and outside the organisation, is a matter for its board and management to consider. Even so, MCI has made clear its expectations that SMT has a responsibility to uphold public trust. It must rectify what needs to be rectified, and be transparent with the public on how it intends to proceed.