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）
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）
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。
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）
（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. ）
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.
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
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
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