A Singapore pro-government Member of Parliament recently responded to a blog posting about her being misquoted and found that it wasn’t as scary as it is perceived to be.

This raises two questions about how Singapore government are not making use of the right tools to monitor themselves in the social space and the difference between how traditional media and social media look at one’s right to respond.

Today wrote, “She felt she had been misquoted, and wrote to the editor of a local website for a correction.

But that simple request by NTUC deputy secretary-general Halimah Yacob to The Temasek Review has sparked off a buzz among netizens, with some viewing her move as a positive one in engaging the alternative media.

In an interview with MediaCorp last week, Mdm Halimah had noted that some middle-aged degree holders lost their jobs and ended up driving taxis because of the downturn. Under-employment, she said, was unavoidable because of limited job opportunities from slow economic growth.

However, in its article on Dec 31, Temasek Review wrote that Mdm Halimah had said it was unavoidable that middle-aged degree holders end up driving taxis.

In a letter to the editor of the website, Mdm Halimah said the article "did not accurately reflect the essence" of what she had said and asked for a correction. The website has since amended its article and also posted her letter online….

…When contacted, Mdm Halimah told MediaCorp she saw the article while surfing the Web over the holidays. "It is useful to engage when it is incorrect," she said. "There was an inaccuracy and I wanted it corrected. Judging from the reaction, people do appreciate that point."” 

Kudos for Mdm Halimah for surfing the Web.

But wait a minute, shouldn’t there be somebody in the government that should be alerting Mdm Halimah of the post and not her searching out for what is being written about her like reading a newspaper and enjoying the serendipity of finding something new?

There are free and paid services out there that can monitor your keywords or name out there, so why isn’t Mdm Halimah or her related government agency looking into using it?

This will allow Mdm Halimah or other government folks to respond to inaccurate quotes almost instantly.

The second point about the right to respond is also important as I feel it has an affect on traditional media.

I spoke to a potential client about the importance of media training and he shared that he has been misquoted in an article.

The effect of the misquote was rather sever as the affected party requested for an apology letter.

This client wrote to the print media six times and not once was the retraction printed.

I didn’t expect it to be printed though as print media has limited and valuable estate for print.

Plus I don’t think the journalist was a fault as it could have been the sub-editor who executed some creative license to shorten the sentence.

With blogs given the option for comment because on the unlimited space, wouldn’t this position blogs as better at making the changes when a wrong quote has been used thus giving the blog more “credibility”?

How to avoid being misquoted in traditional media is an art and a science and I will deal with that in another post.

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