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Straits Times political editor moved, allegedly due to nature of stories – ST denies claims

A report published by Yahoo News Singapore, citing several unnamed sources within The Straits Times, has stated that Li Xueying – political editor at Singapore’s national broadsheet – was moved to the enterprise desk in the wake of “unhappiness by government officials over some of its political stories”.

According to the Yahoo News report, the email announcing Xueying’s shift also referred to the formation of a Singapore Desk headed by executive editor Sumiko Tan to cover all local news including political, business and lifestyle stories. Its purpose was said to be to “allow for closer collaboration across beats, desks and platforms”.

The specific stories that were supposed to have aroused the ire of the government, according to the Yahoo News report, “included a series of interviews with leaders such as one on May 6 headlined ‘A PM without a degree? Possible, says Ong Ye Kung’.”

In response to a query from Mumbrella on the Yahoo News report, The Straits Times editor-in-chief Warren Fernandez said:  “As I told Yahoo news, its story is rather fanciful. The changes they refer to in the ST newsroom were made several months ago.

“I explained at the town halls we had then that the changes were made at my initiative, after consulting with my senior editor colleagues.

“The rationale was to get the best out of our limited resources, play to the strengths of our respective editors and to get us all working across desks, beats and platforms, rather than in silos. There was no deep and dark plot to remove anyone, and hardly anything sinister behind the moves we made.

“As I have told my colleagues in the ST newsroom, instead of letting this distracts us we will stay focused on our purpose – to serve our readers well. Many turn to us each day for their news and views, and we will continue to strive to serve them well.”

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