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Role of CNA in ‘cacophonous’ media landscape ‘more important than ever’: PM Lee

Speaking at a gala dinner celebrating the 20th anniversary of the news provider, Mr Lee said that the transformation of CNA is not a moment too soon.

Role of CNA in ‘cacophonous’ media landscape ‘more important than ever’: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at a gala dinner celebrating the 20th anniversary of CNA on Mar 29, 2019. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The media landscape has become a far more cacophonous space, but it is precisely in this new environment that trusted news sources like CNA are more important than ever, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (Mar 29).

Speaking at a gala dinner celebrating the 20th anniversary of CNA, Mr Lee noted the transformation it has been making over the years as media consumption patterns change.

“Twenty years ago, people would read the newspaper in the morning for news from the preceding day and watch the evening news broadcast on TV for an update on the day’s events,” he said. “Today, however, with social media and the Internet, we consume news in real time, across multiple channels and platforms.”

READ: Laws to tackle deliberate online falsehoods to be introduced in Parliament, says PM Lee

“Traditional news broadcasters have no choice but to adapt, and to adapt quickly,” he said, adding that CNA’s transformation comes "not a moment too soon".

Mr Lee noted that from a single channel, CNA has become a multi-platform digital news source, including television, online and radio. 

“You have experimented with video, podcasts, interactive graphics and augmented reality, and even used drones to capture live footage, to engage viewers and enhance your storytelling,” he said.

He also described how CNA has branched out to produce original content, including current affairs programmes like The New Silk Road and Wild City, which have won international awards.

“CNA today is one voice amongst many. It is much harder for you to hold your audience’s attention. You have to fight to get your voice through.

“At the same time, your audience has a harder task to filter out the noise, and sieve out facts from the ocean of hearsay, propaganda and fake news,” he added.

READ: Channel NewsAsia to adopt "CNA" as its brand name

Amid these developments in the media landscape, he stressed that CNA’s role has become more important than ever.

“Viewers, readers and listeners need to know where they can get reliable and factual news. They know that you have researched and verified your stories, and organised and presented them as objectively as possible,” he said.

“They look to your brand and track record, and trust you to help them make sense of how and why things are happening, so that they can form a coherent and accurate view of the world, and make their own well-informed judgments and decisions," he added.


Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran speaks to a reporter at a gala dinner celebrating CNA's 20th anniversary on Mar 29, 2019. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran echoed Mr Lee's sentiments. 

Having 13 bureaus across Asia has allowed CNA to bring to viewers a distinctive Asian perspective on issues that matter to the region and also on global matters.

"It's important that a broadcaster has a distinct value proposition and a distinctive voice. And I think that's what Channel NewsAsia has achieved over the last 20 years," he said. 

Noting that CNA has responded to technological changes well, with its online product and 24/7 news streaming, Mr Iswaran said adaptations such as these allow a broadcaster to remain relevant and competitive. 

"After all the technological change, the behavioural and consumption habit changes, I think the most important thing is that one has to remain a trusted source of news and with a reputation for quality journalism," he said. 

Source: CNA/hs


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