A portal created by blogivists (bloggers + activists) meant to tell stories about Singapore that are not being told in the mainstream press.
The Online Citizen Hot
User Ratings Summary
User rating summary from: 5 user(s)
Take it with a pinch of salt
The Online Citizens is amongst many of the other online sites that aim to provide information that is not published on our mainstream press and I really appreciate their passionate efforts to highlight certain hard truths about Singapore and to expose the ugly truth behind what is glamorously covered up.
But as I scrolled through the website, the sense of subjectivity and dissent is quite palpable. Dissatisfaction towards the government and their policies are deeply felt. Of course while most of their arguments are supported with evidences, there is a tendency to sensationalize the news... often against the favour of the government.
Digital natives such as the likes of you and me should be wise enough to determine from right and wrong, and to identify ourselves with the fine line drawn between reality and fiction, truth and falsehood.
My advise to readers of these online sites is to practice scepticism - question the facts before rallying loudly alongside of these commentators. With questionable degree of cogency and credibility in these articles, it is wise to contemplate rather than blinding venting frustrations.
Insightful, enriching alternative views
TOC's brand of journalism is based on the perception that the current PAP government suppresses the right to freedom of speech in Singapore. Hence, there is a need for a platform to express these alternative viewpoints and TOC serves to fill the vacuum.
In general, I find TOC's journalistic integrity credible and the range of issues raised pertinent. Issues range from analysis of political parties especially during election periods of the last 2 years to common bread-and-butter issues that occupies the mind of the ordinary Singaporean. I find that the strengths and flaws by the authors were well pointed out and well discussed at length. Moreover, there are suggestions on how to resolve the problem or prevent it from spiralling out of control so as to minimise impacts on Singaporeans.
However, one thing I personally did not like is that most, if not all the articles show a subtle attempt at pushing the blame on the PAP government. It was because of its anti-PAPism that landed it in hot soup in a string of conflicts with the government. I feel that while it is ok to voice out issues and put the spot-light on them, it is not wise to leverage on them politically in an attempt to push the PAP party out of power. This is especially so in the case of bread-and-butter issues which concerns the lives of many Singaporeans. If you use these issues as a political sword/spear, you are neglecting ordinary Singaporeans in the process admist the squabbling and nothing gets done in the end.
The WP of alternative media sites
I've been following TOC for awhile now and in fact they recently featured us in an interview. I've also contributed a few pieces as I believe in their cause.
The problem with most other alternative sites is their objectivity. They end up having such skewed and emotionally charged articles (in the other direction) that make people question their credibility. News has to be objectively reported where the readers are left to decide themselves. Viewpoints should not be forced down, painted in a skewed perspective or have important details omitted. I mean that was the reason for the rise of alternative media in the first place right? Although TOC may not be perfect, I find they are by far able to balance this the best out of all the other sites. Its kinda like how Workers Party is seen as the only credible opposition that people will support now.
I just wish they had more emphasis on news too instead of just editorial commentary pieces. Perhaps maybe have a less important news area where the public can submit news. More active news would be a step closer to being the "citizen journalism" STOMP never was and being the first ever alternative 'mainstream media'. And they have the traction, leverage and the right people behind them to succeed. But they have their limitations as they are all volunteers working on their own free time. I believe they were seen as a threat and gazetted so they are unable to receive donations above a certain amount.
I guess it all depends on the volunteers for now. I hope they run a recruitment drive to find public news moderators, add in a simple news submission system widget and then get the same level of activity and updates as some of the other sites. That's all that's missing now for them to make the jump to become a serious threat to mainstream media.
Bringing to light what the mainstream media doesn't
The Online Citizen is patently biased writing, but that's what makes it good. The author(s) takes a stand and sticks to it, come hell or high water, making no attempt for a balanced approach. I find nothing wrong with that - their articles are generally based on news that the mainstream media will either not touch on at all, or touch on only briefly. These news require a strong, persuasive approach, such as alternative housing policies, the death penalty and migrant worker rights.
That said, The Online Citizen is a commentary site, rather than a news site, and should always be taken together with balanced news (or as balanced as it gets in Singapore anyway) instead of just on its own. This is because it is a reaction to what happens in the mainstream media, and one needs to know the general view in the mainstream media to begin to appreciate an alternate view.
Conspiracy theorist heaven
I used to follow The Online Citizen casually. It was interesting reading about news that never made it to the mainstream media.
Overtime though, I found that all their authors have a very anti-government viewpoint. I am no big fan of PAP, but have found that many of their authors take too extreme a viewpoint. Their articles make the PAP out to be a despot government out to "con" the layman.
The whole site has a very conspiracy theory feel. One particular author, who I shall not name out of courtesy, inputs a lot presumptions and personal suspicions into his articles (and freely states that they are his own opinions).
Overall, not a site where news should be taken too seriously. Many Singaporeans are not happy with the PAP and come here to vent their frustration through articles and comments. Take it with a pinch of salt..