MDA clarified that the new restrictive chokehold on news sites and the $50,000 bond would not extend to bloggers.
This move to control and censor, like gazetting The Online Citizen a “political association” in 2011 before GE 2011, is another sign that the PAP does not know what to do about news that it does not agree with. Rather than letting it be, they want to choke alternative news. They don’t trust us to decide for ourselves. Nonetheless, bloggers are exempted for now, and should not “worry”. The PAP decided that it does not need new controls on keyboard warriors and weekend political commentators. The Sedition Act stretched to its most plausible interpretation, is enough.
SINGAPORE – An individual publishing views on current affairs and trends on his or her personal website or blog does not amount to news reporting, the Media Development Authority said on a Facebook post today.
The MDA also said that the licensing framework only applies to sites that focus on reporting Singapore news and who have been notified that they meet the licensing criteria.
MDA clarified that it “will only step in when complaints are raised to our attention, and we assess that the content is in breach of the content guidelines and merits action by the website owner”. They added that “the framework is not an attempt to influence the editorial slant of news sites.”
On Tuesday, the MDA announced that ten local news websites, with “significant reach” here and which report regularly on Singapore-related news, will now fall under a new licensing regime regulated by the Media Development Authority (MDA).
The news websites all belong to major broadcasters or publishers in Singapore, which are licensed, with the exception of Yahoo! Singapore News, which does not yet have a media licence.
The new licence requires the sites to comply within 24 hours, to any directives from the MDA to remove content found to be in breach of standards. The new licensing regime will provide clarity on these standards. For instance, prohibited material means any content that is “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony, public morality”.
These sites are also required to put up a “performance bond” of S$50,000.