Fabricated report: SPH says sorry to SMRT again
SINGAPORE, July 2 — The Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has apologised again to transport operator SMRT over a fabricated report of one of its trains moving off with its doors open.
This, after SMRT interim CEO Tan Ek Kia responded to the initial apology by SPH English and Malay Newspapers Division editor-in-chief Patrick Daniel last Sunday.
In his response, Tan asked SPH to “make good the damage done to public confidence in the safety systems on Singapore’s rail network”, the Straits Times reported today.
The newspaper also reported that SMRT will not be taking legal action against SPH.
The episode began last Wednesday after a Straits Times Online Mobile Print (STOMP) content producer, Samantha Francis, 23, posted a picture of the train, using the moniker “Wasabi”. She claimed to have taken the picture at Lakeside Station the day before.
But checks by SMRT showed that Francis had never been at the station that day. After investigations by SPH, Francis confessed that she had taken the picture off Twitter. The picture, according to Straits Times, was taken from the outside of a stationary, out-of-service train.
Francis has since been sacked. In his response to SPH, SMRT’s Tan also detailed the “considerable resources” that SMRT spent in testing the trains and holding some back from operation, the Straits Times reported.
Tan also said that STOMP editor Azhar Kasman had claimed that “Wasabi” was unwilling to share her contact details and ez-link card details — citing the confidentiality of sources — when SMRT staff requested for them.
Azhar only shared the details after SMRT informed him that they had carried out overnight checks on its fleet of trains and were considering asking the police for assistance, Tan said.
In his latest apology to Tan yesterday, Daniel said: “I must apologise to you again for the false STOMP post and also for the great trouble we put SMRT through to check your fleet of trains. My colleagues and I have strived always to uphold high standards of integrity throughout the organsation but we failed in this instance.”
Azhar also apologised for a “serious error of judgement on my part”. Azhar, 32, said: “I can only say in mitigation that as a relatively new editor, this was the first time I was dealing with a situation like this.”
According to the Straits Times report, STOMP — which has one editor and six content producers — has also said on its website that its staff will no longer put up posts under nicknames. Such posts will be clearly attributed to “The STOMP team”. — Today