New Singapore sociopolitical website launches

Kannan Chandran is behind Six-Six Pte Ltd, the publisher of new sociopolitical news and views site, SIX-SIX.COM.

A new Singapore-based sociopolitical news website begins operations Saturday, 6 June, with the aim to weave relevant views in daily topical discussions.

Six-Six News is the brainchild of publisher Kannan Chandran, who was previously a journalist at national broadsheet daily The Straits Times in the '80s before starting his own company in the magazine industry.

The new website, SIX-SIX.COM, places a big focus on impartiality, Kannan said. It does this by ensuring opinions collated for topical issues are impartial and that the final decision lies on the reader to make an informed decision.

Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore, Kannan said that the Singapore news industry is abundant in information but "lacking in views that allow us to get a better understanding of the situation".

"Most news commentators weave in a personal or corporate bias into their reports. In other words, there’s little in between the blogger and a socio-political website," Kannan remarked why a reader would have to visit several websites to get a broad range of views.

SIX-SIX.COM's new curation segment, Here | Say, will issue two bulletins daily -- at 6am and 6pm -- featuring two to six opinions on different issues making the headlines. This form of journalism is best seen on sites such as Vox, running on a business model of explaining the news to readers rather than breaking it.

"There are numerous sources available for those in search of news. There is little point in competing with them. We cover news that we feel is relevant and interesting to a mainstream audience," Kannan said, noting that the site is mobile-friendly for readers who want views while on-the-go.

'We have no agenda'

The on-the-go news junkie was a consideration in forming the site, which took a year to form, according to Kannan. After speaking to people who created and read the news, he felt people were no longer reading long articles and wanted information "in smaller doses that were as potent".

"If it can be said more succinctly, then perhaps that should be the way to go."

However, Kannan also plans to host longer features on the site ranging from trending stories to business and lifestyle news.

Kannan denied developing the site "with any other news site in mind" when asked if the launch was coincidental with or incidental to the launch of blogger Bertha Henson's new website, The Middle Ground.

Bertha announced on her Facebook page on 28 May that her new site will be launched next month, noting that the website was for "the people in the squashed middle."

This could have been referring to either middle-class Singaporeans who had complaints of feeling the pinch in increasing living costs, or those that held beliefs in a more centrist light.

"We have no agenda - no intention to have one - other than being neutral. The views are intended to prompt people or users to think. Having presented a varied set of views, we leave the reader to form an opinion," Kannan explained the site's goals.

There are also plans to involve the reader into the curation of responses to pertinent news topics, for the twice-daily bulletin and other SIX-SIX.COM efforts.

"We will provide Singaporeans the opportunity to comment and, at a later stage, also be co-creators of news. It’s an ideas game," said Kannan.

Kannan founded his own publishing company E-Quill Media in 2000. However, the site is based under a new company, SIX-SIX Pte Ltd.

Previous sites have landed themselves in trouble before for not abiding by the law. On 14 April, two editors from now-defunct The Real Singapore were slapped with seven charges under the Sedition Act and were subsequently served copyright papers by media giant Singapore Press Holdings.

In January this year, reporters from daily newspaper TODAY were banned from attending government briefings for one month because the paper was alleged to have repeatedly broken embargoes.

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