Reporters Without Borders – they have again got their facts wrong.

In an article entitled “US blogger Gopalan Nair still waiting the outcome of trial” dated 17th June 2008, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) makes the following assertions at two different parts of the article:

“This trial is a farce. Gopalan Nair appeared today before one of the plaintiffs herself”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. (that’s a reference to RWB)

The case of “insulting” Belinda Ang Saw was heard today with the judge herself presiding over the hearing.

The second sentence is hyperlinked to an AFP article. The AFP article does not state that the matter was heard before Justice Belinda Ang. I believe that the writer of the RWB article must have misunderstood the AFP article. The following is the relevant extract from the AFP article:

In the blog, Gopalan Nair criticised a recent legal hearing at which Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, testified in a defamation case they filed against an opposition party.
Nair, 58, is charged with insulting Justice Belinda Ang Saw Ean by saying she was “prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders,” a court document said.
Justice Ang presided over the hearing.

I believe that the AFP article was making the assertion that Justice Ang presided over the defamation hearing and not Mr Nair’s mention. According to Mr Chia Li Tik’s blog, the matter was mentioned at the subordinate courts on 16th June 2008 and the DPP had requested for the case to be transferred to the High Court. The case has now been fixed for further mention on 14th July 2008 at Court 26 presumably pending the fixing of a date for Pre-Trial Conference at the High Court.

RWB seems to have jumped the gun in their enthusiasm to paint a less than flattering picture. This kind of reporting does not, in any way, assist in promoting the truth.