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TERRY XU

编者按语:本文中翻译自TOC。任何与原文出入之处,均以TOC原文为最终解释权。特此说明。

在星期二(2016年3月1日)国会开会时,内政部长三木根在叙述有关社交网站《公民在线》(TOC)在进行调查有关青少年林俊辉跳楼自杀身亡的事件时说,这是一个“使用虚假谎言精心策划的计划”。(见链接:Link to Ministerial statement)

我们在此回应部长所提出的一些观点。

“机密性”

首先,部长说,林俊辉家属需要隐私。他说,为了尊重家属,他的部门自我克制不对有关事件进行任何的评论至今。这也是为了保护受害一方。

在国会今天开会结束后,TOC为此与林俊辉父亲老先生联系。以下是林先生告诉我们的谈话内容:

“我要求的所谓‘机密性’是指为我们的家属,主要是为了更好的保护我们的两个正在上学的孩子的身份。至于媒体是否要报道这起事件。我们没有异议,我们只是要求媒体在报道这起事件过程中必须反映事实。(注:事件的真相)”

穿着印有“警察”字眼的警方人员衬衫

部长刻意选择了TOC在2016年2月5日上载的一篇文章。文章的题目是:《学生说,那些便衣警方人员是穿着背后印上“警察”(英文字)的衬衫》

这篇文章与警方的声明相互矛盾的。警方的声明是说到学校的警方人员是穿着便装的。

这篇文章是我们与Ms Mary Anne Pereira交谈后才撰写的。她的帖子s是出现在警方的脸书网站:《新加坡警察部队》。

我们并没有直接使用Ms Mary Anne Pereira上载在《新加坡警察部队》的帖子。我们设法找到了Ms Mary Anne Pereira。我们是通过脸书的短信息确认她在脸书上所上载在的帖子。

Ms Mary Anne Pereira告诉我们,她的孩子与林俊辉是同校。他在当天看到穿着背后印有“警察”字眼的衬衫的警察带走了林俊辉。我们就是根据Ms Mary Anne Pereira告诉的我们的情况报道。我们在拿到这则新闻时注明是一名林俊辉的学校学生提供的。我们也同时说,Ms Mary Anne Pereira告诉我们,她注意到以一个社区为基础的警察支队有联系。她无法确定这些警察支队的一些成员是不是已经驻扎在学校。(请到在这Link toarticle浏览有关的文章)

在上载这篇文章时,我们曾尝试与警方接触。但无论如何,我们都没有接到三木根和其他警方官员的回应。

我们感到惊讶的是,

为什么三木根把我们上载的这篇文定性为“不诚实”。我们知道Ms Pereira收回她的声明。但是,在我们上载时,并没有任何迹象显示Ms Pereira犯了错误。

直到今天国会开会,仍然没有任何来自内政部或者律政部的官员尝试就此问题与TOC澄清。与此同时,也没有任何警方或者任何政府官员要求TOC卸载这篇文章。

我们随时可以上载任何由内政部或者律政部提供给予我们最新的事实情况说明或者澄清。

TOC在进行一场“大合唱运动”

部长今天说,TOC上载到全部文章的叙述和给人的印象如下:

1. 警方是在撒谎;

2. 警方恐吓(或者威胁)林俊辉;

3. 警方向林俊辉施加压力要他承认自己犯了刑事罪,事实上他并没有触犯。

事实上 ,TOC所上载的25篇与林俊辉事件有关的文章中,除了其中的4篇是由TOC本身撰写的,剩余的文章都是由TOC的读者或者社会人士撰写的。这是我们在上载第一篇文章后所收到的文章。

TOC为自己已经成为一个公开社交媒体论坛感到自豪。我们欢迎任何人在TOC网址上发表意见。我们极少管制社会人士在TOC网站上的发言。在林俊辉的事件上,读者提出了了许多问题,同时,读者也需要获得这些问题的答案。这一切都是自发性的,这完全不可能出现所谓的“大合唱运动”。

内政部、律政部、或者任何一个政府部门是否有致函要求TOC就所上载有关林俊辉事件提出看法或者评论?如果有,TOC会很乐意把这些信件或者评论同时在TOC网站发表。三木根先生选择性职责我们所做的努力是一种‘策略’,目的是要达到迫使警方就林俊辉事件发表评论。这是不正确。我们坚信言论开放。通过强调问题以寻求答案并不是我们的“策略”。这是一名新闻作者应有的职责。

最后,我们要指出的是,我们所上载的文章已经极其清楚地说明:

“不准确(或者误差)”并不等于“虚假(或者谎言)”。我们所收集到有关林俊辉死亡事件的信息是现有的,因此,如果我们所收集到的信息有不正确或者不准确之处,那实属正常。

有关林俊辉死亡事件还在继续发展中。至今我们尚未获得事件的全部真相。我们正在竭尽所能收集和提供更多有关的信息。我们非常乐意纠正任何在我们发表的文章里的错误。

无论如何,TOC绝对不接受指责,使用“虚假(或者谎言)”的字眼是影射了含有蓄意企图误导的目的。

发表在TOC的文章清单报道文章:

1. 14岁青少年在没有任何人陪同的同情况下接受警方问话后跳楼自杀;(14-year-old jumps to his death after unaccompanied police interrogation )

2. 为什么主流媒体错误报道涉及14岁青少年死亡的事件;(What MSM reported wrongly about case involving the death of 14-year-old student )

3. 学生说,在学校看到衬衫背后印有“警察”字眼的便衣者;(Student said plainclothes at school wore T-shirts with “Police” at its back )

4. 林俊辉家属说,假设没有社交媒体的协助,林俊辉的事件将会不了了之;(Benjamin Lim’s case would have died down if not for social media, says family )

5. 个人事件是高度凸显了警方在程序和执行方面的问题;(Personal accounts highlight systematic issue with police procedure and practices)

6. 内政部和警方无法回答有关林俊辉事件的问题;(Questions about Benjamin Lim’s case, Home Affairs Minister and SPF cannot answer )

7. 部长在国会里答问有关有关14岁青少年死亡事件;(Ministers to talk and answer questions about 14-year-old death in parliament )

8. 警方将检讨有关盘问青少年的程序;(Police to review procedures on police interview with minors )

9. 重新检讨的不仅是林俊辉死亡事件,而是整个系统;(Review on system, not just about Benjamin’s death,

10. 律师公会主席,关于教育部说,学校有责任配合警方执行任务,而不是造成妨碍司法的执行;(Law Society’s president MOE: Schools obligated to cooperate with police and not stand in the way of law)

11. 14岁青少年死亡事件让一位母亲回忆起自己的儿子的同样遭遇的经验;(14-year-old’s death spurs a mother to speak up on son’s similar experience)

12. CAN 发表声明:必须为涉及犯刑事罪的青少年提供特别的保护;(Statements CAN: Special safeguards needed for criminal cases involving minors )

13. 新加坡妇女协会声明:调查涉及犯罪的青少年的权利;(AWARE: Statement on the rights of minors in criminal investigations )

14. 新加坡民主党:部长在林俊辉自杀事件上采取了沉默的态度;(SDP: Minister’s silence on Benjamin Lim’s suicide troubling)

收到评语与邮件

1. 每一个公民都关心着新加坡政治与法律不平等的平台;
(Uneven playing field of Singapore politics and law, a cause for concern for every citizen)

2. 民兵似的的思维致使孤独者感到无助与恐惧而放弃了对法律的期望;(Militia-like-mentality renders any individual helpless feaful and forsaken in the eyes of the law )

3. 两次被拘留在警察局里的经验;(Experience with the police after being locked up at the station twice )

4. 2016年1月26日林俊辉的家属发表澄清事件的公开信;(Open letter from Benjamin’s family to clarify what transpired on 26 January )

5. 患上痴呆症老人被警方强迫承认触犯法律来(Father with dementia forced to confess to an offence by police )

6. 林俊辉死亡是事件已经过来一个月,部长仍然保持沉默;(Benjamin’s death out of the mouth of ministers )

7. 必须成立调查庭确定警方出动责任的界线;(COI needs to be held to determine level of accountability of police )

8. 13岁青少年与其他被涉嫌涉骚扰案件者关禁在同一个囚室;(13-year-old locked up in detention cell with other offenders for alleged molest )

9. 重新检讨学校在调查学生涉嫌刑事罪所扮演的心理辅导角色;(Re-examine the role of school counsellors in criminal investigation of students. )

10. 恻隐之心;警方在处理青少年的问题上应该要展现更多恻隐之心和技巧。(
The police could show more compassion and finesse in dealing with teenagers)

 

Editorial: Response to speech on TOC by Home Affairs and Law Minister

 

In Parliament on Tuesday, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam described The Online Citizen (TOC)’s investigation into the death of teenager, Benjamin Lim, as a “planned, orchestrated campaign using falsehoods”. (Link to Ministerial statement)

We would like to respond to some of the points highlighted by the Minister.

“Confidentiality”

First, the Minister said Benjamin’s family wanted privacy. He said that out of respect for the family, his ministry had refrained from commenting on the case until now. They also wanted to protect the alleged victim.

TOC spoke to Benjamin’s father, Mr Lim, after the parliamentary session today. This is what he told us:

“The confidentiality that I want is for our family, for our identity to be kept confidential to better protect my two school going children. Whether the media report on the case, we have no question except that we urge the reports must reflect the truth”

Police attired in shirts with the words “Police”

The Minister took particular issue with an article published by TOC on 5 February this year.

Titled “Student said plainclothes officers at school wore t-shirts with “police” at its back.”, the piece contradicted a police statement asserting that the officers who went to Benjamin’s school were in plain clothes.

The article was written after we spoke with a Ms Mary Anne Pereira. She had posted a comment on the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Facebook (FB) page.

We did not just take Ms Mary Anne Pereira’s post from the SPF FB page. We made the additional effort to reach out to Ms Pereira to verify what she said through messaging her on FB.

Ms Pereira told us that her son, who is attending Benjamin’s school, had seen men with the word “POLICE” on the back of their t-shirts on the day Benjamin was taken away. We reported what she told us, and made clear that the information was provided by a student at Benjamin’s school. We also said that Ms Pereira informed us she was aware that the school was affiliated to a community-based police subdivision, and that she wasn’t certain if some members of that subdivision might have been at the school at the time. (Link to article)

Prior to publishing the article, we reached out to the police, Mr Shanmugum, and other officials for comment. However, we did not receive any reply.

We are thus puzzled as to why Mr Shanmugum would label the article “dishonest”. We understand that Ms Pereira has since retracted her statement, but at the time of publication, there was no indication that she had made a mistake.

Until the Parliamentary session today, no official from either the Home Affairs or Law Ministry attempted to clarify the matter with TOC. Neither did the police or any government official instruct us to take down the article.

We would have run any updates, facts or clarifications the Home Affairs or Law Ministry would
have provided us with.

“Orchestrated Campaign” by TOC

The Minister said today that the overall narrative and impression conveyed by TOC’s articles are that:

1. The police were lying;

2. The police intimidated Benjamin

3. The police put pressure on Benjamin to confess to a

crime that he did not commit.

In all, TOC published a total of 25 articles related to Benjamin’s case. Only four were written in-house. The rest were letters and opinion pieces contributed by members of the public. Benjamin’s story triggered a strong reaction among our readers. This is evident in the number of submissions we received following the first article.

TOC prides itself on being an open platform. We welcome contributions and have very little control over what the public choose to write about. In Benjamin’s case, questions were raised, and people wanted answers. Their reactions were spontaneous. It was hardly an “orchestrated campaign”.

Had the police, Home Affairs or Law Ministries, or anyone from the government written to TOC or responded to our requests for comment, we would have been happy to present their views too. Mr Shanmugum has chosen to characterise our efforts at reaching out as “tactics” to get the police to comment on Benjamin’s case. This is not correct. We believe in giving all sides a chance to speak. Soliciting answers to pressing questions isn’t a “tactic”. It is merely journalism.

Finally, we would like to point out that “inaccuracies” are not the same as “falsehoods”. Given the dearth of information available to us, it is natural that some of our reports were not fully accurate. It would have been clear from our articles that the story was still developing as we were yet to be in possession of the full facts, and we were doing our best to do so with the information we had. We are happy to correct any mistakes we might have made in our articles. However, the word ”falsehoods” implies a deliberate attempt to mislead. TOC rejects any such suggestion.

List of articles

Reports

1. 14-year-old jumps to his death after unaccompanied police interrogation

2. What MSM reported wrongly about case involving the death of 14-year-old student

3. Student said plainclothes at school wore T-shirts with “Police” at its back

4. Benjamin Lim’s case would have died down if not for social media, says family

5. Personal accounts highlight systematic issue with police procedure and practices

6. Questions about Benjamin Lim’s case, Home Affairs Minister and SPF cannot answer

7. Ministers to talk and answer questions about 14-year-old death in parliament

8. Police to review procedures on police interview with minors

9. Review on system, not just about Benjamin’s death,

10. Law Society’s president MOE: Schools obligated to cooperate with police and not stand in the way of law

11. 14-year-old’s death spurs a mother to speak up on son’s similar experience

12. Statements

13. CAN: Special safeguards needed for criminal cases involving minors

14. AWARE: Statement on the rights of minors in criminal investigations

15. SDP: Minister’s silence on Benjamin Lim’s suicide troubling

Commentaries and Letters

Where is the compassion?

1. Uneven playing field of Singapore politics and law, a cause for concern for every citizen

2. Militia-like-mentality renders any individual helpless feaful and forsaken in the eyes of the law

3. Experience with the police after being locked up at the station twice

4. Open letter from Benjamin’s family to clarify what transpired on 26 January Father with dementia forced to confess to an offence by police Benjamin’s death out of the mouth of ministers COI needs to be held to determine level of accountability of police 13-year-old locked up in detention cell with other offenders for alleged molest Re-examine the role of school counsellors in criminal investigation of students.

5.The police could show more compassion and finesse in dealing with teenagers

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