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The Online Citizen crowdfunds journalists to cover Singapore elections

Independent news site The Online Citizen has launched a campaign to raise money to hire journalists to cover the general elections in Singapore.

The crowdfunding initiative running on Pozible aims to raise S$50,000 for hiring and training ground reporters to cover election rallies, party walkabouts and other media events.

TOC has covered the elections since 2011 using volunteers, but TOC’s commentaries editor Howard Lee said it would be “unfair” to expect reporters to work for free “with that kind of intensity” around the elections.

TOC has released this video to drum up support.

Lee said: “While you can be sure that TOC will be ready for any election in whatever capacity we have, having trained journalists with a firm understanding of political parties and the election process will increase the quality, quantity and diversity of our coverage.”

“The ‘boots on the ground’ mantra has always been a trademark of TOC that continues to set us apart, and it is a journalistic tradition we intend to continue with.”

The Online Citizen has been leant on by Singapore’s media watchdog recently. It was requested to get a broadcasting licence for its parent company The Online Cooperative in September last year – which involves paying a “performance bond” and removing articles the government does not approve of in 24 hours. The Online Citizen already has a licence.

TOC is also launching a workshop on citizen journalism.

Tan Tee Seng, director of TOC Ltd, said: “TOC Ltd is very keen to explore the citizen journalism workshop, as it presents an opportunity for us to foster a new kind of open media environment. When citizens feel that they have the liberty and the correct skills set to shape the media around them, we have empowerment and democracy of knowledge,” he said.

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