Two editors from The Straits Times newsroom were disciplined over breach of Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) code of conduct.
According to a statement SPH sent to Human Resources, an internal inquiry was conducted after a member of its staff from The Straits Times newsroom was hospitalised last week. She is now recovering at home.
The SPH panel conducted an inquiry into allegations of two separate instances of improper relations with a subordinate member of staff against two ST editors that have been made in connection to this matter. It found sufficient grounds to conclude that the two editors concerned had breached SPH's code of conduct and disciplinary action will be carried out, commensurate with the seriousness of their actions.
One editor will be removed from his post, demoted and redeployed; the other will be given a written warning, have his salary docked, and redeployed.
The statement added: "SPH takes a serious view of any transgressions of its code of conduct for its staff and will not hesitate to take appropriate measures following a full and transparent inquiry process."
According to a report by The Straits Times, soon after both men had been informed of these decisions yesterday, The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez held a 45-minute town hall meeting for the The Straits Times newsroom and explained the company's decision, while also emphasising that the well-being of the junior staff member involved was SPH's main concern.
Fernandez noted that the inquiry process, which was completed yesterday, was led by individuals from outside of The Straits Times to ensure an impartial and transparent investigation was conducted. He added that as far as he knew, the police were not investigating the matter.
In response to a question about the nature of the allegations, Fernandez said no evidence of harassment was found and the main issue was that the two editors had not reported their separate relationships with the junior staff member to HR or their editors.
Fernandez emphasised: "We want to make clear that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable in the The Straits Times newsroom. This is not who we are, or who we want to be."
SPH stopped short of dismissing the two staff concerned as it took into account their good track record, he said, noting that "both had done good work in the The Straits Times newsroom".
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