Singapore Police Force accuse Reuters of sowing distrust with report about water price hike protest

Photo: Andy Wee / Facebook

When the government suddenly announced that it was going to slap a 30 percent price hike on water, you bet your ass people weren’t happy to hear the news.

Who would be? Thirty percent is a pretty significant surge — one that’s not helped at all with explanations such as, “it’s the first increase in 17 years” and that it was done “just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water”.

Discontent all around, of course, especially from those on the lower end of the financial spectrum who’ll be hit hardest when the price hike comes around. The level of dissatisfaction over both the price increase and unconvincing clarifications was high enough to spark an organized protest at the Speakers’ Corner last Saturday, where over 100 people turned up, Reuters reports.

According to the news agency, protestors called the hike unjustified, and the event organisers said that more people would have turned up “if they had not feared a police crackdown.”

The Singapore Police Force, however, have made it clear that it wasn’t happy at all with the Reuters report.

Calling the story “an attempt to stoke fears about the use of the Speakers’ Corner and sow distrust of the Police”, it asserted that Reuters should have been objective in writing about the designated patch of land in Hong Lim Park where demonstrations (you need approval by authorities first, LOL) can take place.

“A more objective reporting would have shown that the Speakers’ Corner has been and remains an avenue for Singaporeans to participate freely and responsibly in public speeches and demonstrations”, the Singapore Police Force wrote in a statement.

“It is regrettable that Reuters had decided to carry unsubstantiated allegations from the organisers, and cited an unrelated case from 2014 in its reporting on the Speakers’ Corner. This was clearly an attempt to stoke fears about the use of the Speakers’ Corner and sow distrust from the Police.”

The “unrelated case” they’re referring to is Reuter’s inclusion of the Return Our CPF protest rally that saw a group marching about at a YMCA community event at Hong Lim Park.

Reuters, however, remains unfazed by the accusations, and simply responded, “We stand by our story”.

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