Leslie Fong’s no anonymity in forums
Leslie Fong, the ST’s former editor and current senior executive VP gave his reasons for no anonymity in ST forum. All writers must identify themselves. He wanted this to extend to bloggers as well for the same reasons. I could agree with the reasons but not with the reality of its relevance at this point in time.
He argued that there must be openness, transparency and accountability. He even brushed aside the fear by employees that their employers would not find their writing to forums acceptable. In his ideal state, the openness, transparency and accountability is applicable to all sides, including those in authority. He also assumed that the employers are all fair and well informed and are secured individuals who can distinguish rights from wrongs and would stand by them. He also assumed that the govt and political climate then and now are conducive to openness and transparency. Or is it a case of demanding every critic to be open while the executioner has all the right and power to remain anonymous and to wield the axe when it deems fit?
I also encourage openness and for all bloggers to identify themselves and take their stand without fear. But this is a good aspiration at this point in time. There are a hundred and one reasons why bloggers would not and could not and must not reveal their identities. That is the reality I feel should be seriously recognized. Too much cock and bull will just be cock and bull and no one would believe in cock and bull when the truth says don’t believe in them.
I would celebrate the day all bloggers are confident enough to use their real names. It will be a sign of progress and maturity, not in the bloggers, but in the authority. Till such a day, anonymity is still needed for people to express freely and confidently.
While anonymity is still an acceptable practice in mysingaporenews, I hope bloggers would not abuse this state of affair and allow it do go down in disrepute. So far the bloggers have been quite discipline and hardly abuse this privilege of remaining in anonymity and speaking the truth without getting too wild to discredit their credibility and the quality of their posts.
All, including the govt, should work towards openness, transparency and accountability other than state secrets. And it is no good hiding under state secrets to be non transparent and not accountable. And the govt needs a lot of confidence building measures, not in words but in deeds to be transparent and to respect contrarian views. There is some progress in this area but it is still too early to tell whether the Hundred Flowers Bloom campaign is what it is.
When the people are confident that being open, transparent and accountable are the new ethos, the new normal, there is no need for anonymity anymore. The ball is in the court of the authority and employers.