If you are a frequent reader of the ST forum you might notice that a large number of letters are of an extremely low quality and often falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. From complaints about people overburdening escalators by walking on them to a proposal to make perpetual motion devices, It’s quite obvious that editing and fact-checking is either non-existence or ignored in order to generate controversy and clicks. This week, however, the ST forum has reached a new low when it published without any disclaimer or warning a letter from a 19-year-old polytechnic student claiming that mobile phone signals had harmful biological effects.
The article in question
For those who are unfamiliar with mobile phones and their effects on health. No scientific study has found proof of any link between mobile radiation and ill-effects on the human body. Phone signals are sent via non-ionizing radiation and have about as much ability to cause changes in “cell metabolism ” or create “stress proteins” as flashlight’s. Not to mention that the extremely weak signals emitted by mobile phones pale in comparison to the signals emitted by a giant nuclear reactor we call the sun. For those who wish to find out more about the topic, the US department of health has a good web page about it here
The reference to the Faraday cage is equally non-sensical as a faraday cage refers to a place where signals are unable to get into. If cars were a Faraday cage mobile phones would not work inside them. Since this is obviously incorrect car’s aren’t faraday cages and even if they were they would absorb signals instead of reflecting them back reducing the health effect based on the tenuous logic shown in this article.
The St Forum has editors and has previously changed articles against the wishes of a writer for factual accuracy in the past. Why they are unwilling to exercise that power in blatantly obvious cases such as this is a mystery. The ST is one of Singapore’s largest newspapers and if they wish to live up to their size they must remain dedicated to informing the population truthfully not publishing blatantly incorrect articles for no clear reason. We can see the damage a poor media culture can cause in the west, If we wish to avoid this we must hold the ST to a higher standard and having them crack down on articles such as these would be a good first step.