The Straits Times

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The Straits Times
The Straits Times Logo.svg
The Straits Times.jpg
Front page of The Straits Times from 18 May 2012
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Singapore Press Holdings
Editor Warren Fernandez [1]
FoundedJuly 15, 1845;173 years ago (1845-07-15)
(63533 issues)
Headquarters1000 Toa Payoh North, News Centre, Singapore, 318994
Circulation 352,003 (As of July 2013) [2]
5,000 (Myanmar edition) [3]
2,500 (Brunei edition) [4]
OCLC number 8572659

The Straits Times is an English-language daily broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore currently owned by Singapore Press Holdings. Singapore Press Holdings claims that the print and digital editions of the newspaper (The Straits Times and The Sunday Times) have a daily average circulation of 383,600. [5] It was established on 15 July 1845 as The Straits Times and Singapore Journal of Commerce, [6] [7] There are specific Myanmar and Brunei editions published, with a newsprint circulation of 5,000 and 2,500 respectively. [3] [4]

A broadsheet is the largest newspaper format and is characterized by long vertical pages.

Singapore Republic in Southeast Asia

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore Press Holdings Limited is a media organisation in Singapore with businesses in print, digital, radio and outdoor media, and property and aged care. SPH has over 4,000 employees, including a team of approximately 1,000 journalists, including correspondents operating around the world. The company was one of the country's "blue-chip" counters on the Singapore Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the Straits Times Index.



The Straits Times was started by an Armenian, Catchick Moses. [8] Moses's friend, Martyrose Apcar, had intended to start a local paper, but met with financial difficulties. To fulfil his friend's dream, Moses took over and appointed Robert Carr Woods as editor. On 15 July 1845, The Straits Times was launched as an eight-page weekly, published at 7 Commercial Square using a hand-operated press. The subscription fee then was Sp.$1.75 per month. In September 1846, he sold the paper to Robert Woods because the press proved unprofitable to run.

Armenians in Singapore

The Armenians in Singapore are a small community who had a significant presence in the early history of Singapore. They numbered around 100 individuals at their peak in the early 1920s, but most have moved on to other countries or become absorbed into the wider Singapore community. They were among the earliest merchants to arrive in Singapore when it was established as a trading port by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. The Armenian Apostolic Church of St Gregory the Illuminator on Armenian Street, the second church to be built in Singapore, is today the oldest surviving one.

Robert Carr Woods (1816–1875), a native of Lincolnshire, England, is best known from his time in Singapore as first editor of The Straits Times, and subsequently as a lawyer.

On 20 February 1942, five days after the British had surrendered to the Japanese, The Straits Times became known as The Shonan Times and The Syonan Shimbun. This name change lasted until 5 September 1945, when Singapore returned to British rule. [9] :240

Battle of Singapore World War II battle

The Battle of Singapore, also known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the British stronghold of Singapore—nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East". Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the key to British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific. The fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942, after the two months during which Japanese forces had advanced down the Malayan Peninsula.

During the early days of Singaporean self-governance (before 1965), the paper had an uneasy relationship with some politicians, including the leaders of the People's Action Party. [10] [11] Editors were warned that any reportage that may threaten the merger between Singapore and the Malayan Federation may result in subversion charges, and that they may be detained without trial under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance Act. [12] [13]

Self-governance of Singapore

The self-governance of Singapore was carried out in several stages. Since Singapore's founding in 1819, Singapore had been under the colonial rule of the United Kingdom. The first local elections on a limited scale for several positions in the government of Singapore started in 1948 following an amendment to the Constitution of Singapore.

Peoples Action Party ruling political party in Singapore

The People's Action Party is a major centre-right political party in Singapore.

Internal Security Act (Singapore) law of Singapore

The Internal Security Act (ISA) of Singapore is a statute that grants the executive power to enforce preventive detention, prevent subversion, suppress organized violence against persons and property, and do other things incidental to the internal security of Singapore. The present Act was originally enacted by the Parliament of Malaysia as the Internal Security Act 1960, and extended to Singapore on 16 September 1963 when Singapore was a state of the Federation of Malaysia.


The Straits Times functions with 16 bureaus and special correspondents in major cities worldwide. The paper has five sections: the main section consist of Asian and international news, with sub-sections of columns and editorials and the Forum Page (letters to the press). The Home section consist of local news and topics on Education for Monday, Mind and Body for Tuesday, Digital for Wednesday, Community for Thursday and Science for Friday. There are also a sports and finance section, a classified ads and job listing section and a lifestyle, style, entertainment and the arts section titled "Life!".

A news bureau is an office for gathering or distributing news. Similar terms are used for specialized bureaux, often to indicate geographic location or scope of coverage: a ‘Tokyo bureau’ refers to a given news operation's office in Tokyo; 'foreign bureau' is a generic term for a news office set up in a country other than the primary operations center; a ‘Washington bureau’ is an office, typically located in Washington, D.C., that covers news related to national politics in the United States. The person in charge of a news bureau is often called the bureau chief.

Finance Academic discipline studying businesses and investments

Finance is a field that is concerned with the allocation (investment) of assets and liabilities over space and time, often under conditions of risk or uncertainty. Finance can also be defined as the art of money management. Participants in the market aim to price assets based on their risk level, fundamental value, and their expected rate of return. Finance can be split into three sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.

Entertainment activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight

Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousands of years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audience's attention. Although people's attention is held by different things, because individuals have different preferences in entertainment, most forms are recognisable and familiar. Storytelling, music, drama, dance, and different kinds of performance exist in all cultures, were supported in royal courts, developed into sophisticated forms and over time became available to all citizens. The process has been accelerated in modern times by an entertainment industry that records and sells entertainment products. Entertainment evolves and can be adapted to suit any scale, ranging from an individual who chooses a private entertainment from a now enormous array of pre-recorded products; to a banquet adapted for two; to any size or type of party, with appropriate music and dance; to performances intended for thousands; and even for a global audience.

The newspaper also publishes special editions for primary and secondary schools in Singapore. The primary-school version contains a special pull-out, titled "Little Red Dot" and the secondary-school version contains a pull-out titled "In".

A separate edition The Sunday Times is published on Sundays.

Sale in Malaysia

Owing to political sensitivities, The Straits Times is not sold in neighboring Malaysia, and the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times is not sold in Singapore. The ban was imposed before independence in Malaysia.[ citation needed ]

International editions

A specific Myanmar and Brunei edition of this paper was launched on 25 Mar 2014 and 30 October 2014. It is published daily with local newspaper printers on licence with SPH. This paper is distributed on ministries, businesses, major hotels, airlines, bookshops and supermarkets on major cities and target sales to local and foreign businessmen in both countries. Circulation of the Myanmar edition currently stands at 5,000 and 2,500 for the Brunei edition. The Brunei edition is currently sold at B$1 per copy and an All-in-One Straits Times package consisting of the print edition and full digital access via online, tablets and smartphones, will also be introduced in Brunei. [3] [4]

Straits Times Online

Launched on 1 January 1994, The Straits Times' website was free of charge and granted access to all the sections and articles found in the print edition. On 1 January 2005, the online version began requiring registration and after a short period became a paid-access-only site. Currently, only people who subscribe to the online edition can read all the articles on the Internet, including the frequently updated "Latest News" section.

A free section, featuring a selection of news stories, is currently available at the site. Regular podcast, vodcast and twice-daily—mid-day and evening updates—radio-news bulletins are also available for free online.

Community programmes

The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund

The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund was initiated on October 1, 2000 by The Straits Times, to heighten public awareness of the plight of children from low-income families who were attending school without proper breakfast, or pocket money to sustain their day in school. [14] The aim is to alleviate the financial burden faced by parents in providing for their children's education. At the same time the funds will help children who are already facing difficulties in remaining in school to stay on.

The Straits Times Media Club

The Straits Times Media Club is a youth programme to encourage youth readership and interest in news and current affairs.[ citation needed ] Schools will have to subscribe for at least 500 copies, and will receive their papers every Monday. A youth newspaper, IN, is slotted in together with the main paper for the students.

Government interference

The newspaper is sometimes referred as "the mouthpiece" of the ruling party [15] [16] or at least "mostly pro-government" [17] [18] and "close to the government". [19]

Chua Chin Hon, then ST’s bureau chief for the United States, was quoted as saying that SPH’s “editors have all been groomed as pro-government supporters and are careful to ensure that reporting of local events adheres closely to the official line” in a 2009 US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks. [20] [21] Past chairpersons of Singapore Press Holdings have been civil or public servants. Current SPH Chairman Lee Boon Yang is a former PAP cabinet minister who took over from Tony Tan, former Deputy Prime Minister. Many current ST management and senior editors have close links to the government as well. SPH CEO Alan Chan was a former top civil servant and Principal Private Secretary of then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Current editor-in-chief Warren Fernandez was considered as a PAP candidate for the 2006 elections. [22] [23]

NamePosition(s) in SPHYears servedPosition(s) in public office
Before SPHAfter SPH
S.R. Nathan Executive chairman of the Straits Times Press/SPH1982–1988Perm Sec. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador, President of Singapore
Lim Kim San Executive chairman of SPH1988–2002 Cabinet Minister, Chairman of Port of Singapore Authority
Tony Tan Executive chairman of SPH2005–2011 Deputy Prime Minister President of Singapore
Tjong Yik MinPresident of SPH1995–2002Director of Internal Security Department
Alan Chan Director, President, Chief executive of SPH2002–2017Perm. Sec. of the Ministry of Transport
Lee Boon Yang Executive chairman of SPH2011–present Cabinet Minister
Zainul Abidin Rasheed Editor of Berita Harian, Associate editor of ST1976-1996Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador
Chua Lee HoongReview, Political editor of ST [24] 1995-2012 [25] Intelligence analyst of Internal Security Department [26] Senior Director of Resilience Policy and Research Centre and National Security Research Centre, Prime Minister's Office [27]
Patrick DanielEditor-in-chief, Deputy chief executive of SPH1986–presentDirector in the Ministry of Trade and Industry [28]
Ng Yat Chung Chief executive of SPH2017–Chief of Army, Chief of Defence Force
Han Fook KwangEditor of ST, Editor-at-large [29] 1989–presentDeputy Director of Ministry of Communications (Land Transport) [16]
Janadas Devan Senior editor of ST1997–2012Chief of Government Communications [30]
Elgin TohInsight editor of ST2010-2013, 2017–Assistant director of National Security Coordination Secretariat, Prime Minister's Office

Senior assistant director of Centre for Liveable Cities, Ministry of National Development [31]

In his memoir OB Markers: My Straits Times Story, former editor-in-chief Cheong Yip Seng recounts how, since 1986, there has been a government-appointed "monitor" at the newspaper, "someone who could watch to see if indeed the newsroom was beyond control", and that disapproval of the "monitor" could cost a reporter or editor their job. [32] Cheong identifies the first monitor as S. R. Nathan, director of the Ministry of Defence's Security and Intelligence Division and later president of Singapore. [32] Editors were bound by out of bounds markers to denote what topics are permissible for public discussion, [33] resulting in self-censorship. [34]


The Straits Times has also been criticised by netizens for sloppy and biased reporting. For instance, the newspaper repeatedly interviewed a commuter named Ashley Wu on 8 occasions within a span of 10 months, whenever the trains broke down, rather than getting fresh viewpoints from different affected commuters. [35] [36] The newspaper is also known to modify and insert additional lines to op-ed contributors' works, altering the tone and message of the articles, without notifying them in advance. [37]

See also

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Further reading