Stomp staff sacked over false 'MRT open door photo'

A photograph of an MRT train moving with one set of its doors open, has been found to be false.

A content producer of Singapore's citizen journalism website Stomp had initially claimed that she took the photograph last week.

23-year-old Samantha Francis claimed that she took the photograph herself at Lakeside MRT station last Tuesday night.

Following investigations by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Ms Francis eventually admitted that she had taken the image from a post on social networking site Twitter.

The original tweet has since been removed.

On discovering this, Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division, sent a letter to Mr Tan Ek Kia, the interim chief executive of rail operator SMRT, apologising for the incident.

Ms Francis was also sacked by SPH, which owns Stomp, on the same day.

Mr Daniel said in his letter to SMRT: 'My team and I would like to apologise unreservedly to SMRT for this erroneous report by one of our staff. We truly regret the damage this has caused SMRT.'

He added: 'Aside from breaching our professional ethics, what she (Ms Francis) has done goes against all the values that we stand for.'

APOLOGY on STOMP

Statement by STOMP Editor, Azhar Kasman

STOMP would like to apologise for the posting on June 20, supposedly showing an SMRT train that left Lakeside station with one set of doors open. The report, submitted by a STOMP content producer, has been found to be fabricated.

The content producer, Ms Samantha Ann Francis, had submitted the photo to STOMP, claiming that she had taken it when she was at Lakeside MRT Station at 10.15pm on June 19.

Following investigations by our staff, Ms Francis has admitted that she had in fact taken the photo off a posting on Twitter. The original tweet has since been removed.

Ms Francis has been dismissed by Singapore Press Holdings, which owns Stomp.

SPH sent a letter yesterday (24/5) to SMRT's interim CEO Tan Ek Kia apologising for the incident.

Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division, said in the letter: "My team and I would like to apologise unreservedly to SMRT for this erroneous report by one of our staff. We truly regret the damage this has caused SMRT."

He added: "Aside from breaching our professional ethics, what Ms Francis has done goes against all the values that we stand for."

As STOMP editor, I would also like to personally apologise to SMRT and members of the public for this erroneous article in STOMP. I deeply regret that one of our staff breached professional ethics and posted a fabricated report.

I would like to assure the public and all STOMP readers that the website does not tolerate such unethical behaviour.

We will also be reviewing our operating procedures and will do everything we can to prevent such a lapse from recurring.

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