A spokesperson for SPH Media Trust said yesterday (9 January) that they found inconsistencies in their data reporting following an internal review that lasted 1.5 years.
Consequentially, a number of senior staff members have been “taken to task” as a result of the findings.
The company started reviewing their internal processes in March last year, with the review spanning from September 2020 to March 2022, encompassing their financial year of 2020/2021 from September 2020 to August 2021, and the first half of the financial year 2021-2022.
The period reviewed included their time as a listed company and their current stated as a company limited by guarantee – SPH Media became a non-profit entity in December last year.
The inconsistencies in the data reporting that were found, include:
- The copies of newspapers that were printed, counted for circulation and destroyed.
- Multiple instances of subscriptions being double counted.
- Contrats that had lapsed were also counted into the circulation data
- Funding was made for a project account to purchase fake circulation
- Some circulation number were arbitrarily derived
As a result, there was a daily average of between 85,000 to 95,000 copies being counted wrongly, and it represents about 10% to 12% of their reported daily average circulation
Taken to task
SPH media immediately took action to strengthen their processes, and several senior employees who were involved have either been “taken to task” or have left the company.
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has also said that they were aware of the reports, and they have asked SPH Media to share their full findings.
MCI said: “MCI will undertake our own review to determine if these inconsistencies in circulation data affect the decision to fund, and the amount the Government committed to fund SPH Media. MCI expects SPH Media to fully cooperate with our review.”