Major Online Websites in Singapore to Protest Against Licensing Requirement

MEDIA STATEMENT

Thursday, 30 May 2013

MAJOR ONLINE WEBSITES IN SINGAPORE TO PROTEST AGAINST LICENSING REQUIREMENT

The Media Development Authority had, on Tuesday, introduced a “licensing framework” that would require “online news sites” to put up a “performance bond” of $50,000 and “comply within 24 hours to MDA’s directions to remove content that is found to be in breach of content standards”.

As part of the community of websites in Singapore that provide sociopolitical news and analysis to Singaporeans, we are concerned about the impact of the newly-introduced requirement on fellow Singaporeans’ ability to receive diverse news information.

While the S$50,000 performance bond is a drop in the ocean for a mainstream news outlet with an online presence, it would potentially be beyond the means of volunteer run and personal blogging platforms like ours. Hence, MDA’s claim that the licensing regime is intended to equalize the playing field between online and offline news is incorrect: the regulations will disproportionately affect us.

Further, we believe that the introduction of the licensing regime has not gone through the proper and necessary consultation and had been introduced without clear guidance. In a typical public consultation exercise, a government agency will publish a draft regulation with detailed explanation and issue a press release to invite members of the public to send in feedback for consideration. We observe this is not the case for the licensing regime.

We call on the Ministry of Communications and Information to withdraw the licensing regime. We call upon our elected representatives to oppose the licensing regime.

It is in the interest of Singaporeans and the long-term future for Singapore that the licensing regime be withdrawn.

The new licensing regime has the very real potential to reduce the channels available to Singaporeans to receive news and analysis of the sociopolitical situation in Singapore and it is in the interest of all Singaporeans to guard against the erosion and availability of news channels that Singaporeans should rightfully have access to.

These new regulations significantly impact Singaporeans’ constitutionally protected right to free speech, and they should not be introduced without the most rigorous public debate and discussion.

The new regulations, and the manner in which they have been imposed by regulatory fiat, are unacceptable in any developed democracy.

Leong Sze Hian – http://leongszehian.com/

Andrew Loh – http://publichouse.sg

Ravi Philemon – http://www.raviphilemon.net/

Kumaran Pillai – http://sgvoize.wordpress.com/

Terry Xu – http://theonlinecitizen.com/

Richard Wan – http://www.tremeritus.com/

Choo Zheng Xi – http://theonlinecitizen.com/

Howard Lee – http://theonlinecitizen.com/

Rachel Zeng– http://rachelzeng.wordpress.com/, http://singaporeantideathpenaltycampaign.wordpress.com/

Roy Ngerng – https://thehearttruths.com/

Kirsten Han – http://spuddings.net/

Gilbert Goh – http://www.transitioning.org/

Nizam Ismail – http://nizamosaurus.wordpress.com/

Lynn Lee – http://www.lianainfilms.com/

Biddy Low – http://publichouse.sg/

Alex Au – http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/

Martyn See – http://singaporerebel.blogspot.sg/

Howard Lee – http://theonlinecitizen.com/

Elaine Ee – http://publichouse.sg/

Lim Han Thon – http://publichouse.sg

Joshua Chiang

Donaldson Tan – http://newasiarepublic.com

Stephanie Chok – http://littlemskaypoh.wordpress.com

Jolovan Wham – http://www.workfairsingapore.wordpress.com

If you would like more information or for media enquires, please contact Howard Lee athoward@theonlinecitizen.com

For queries on TOC’s position on the media regulations and how they potentially impact the website, our media contact person will be Choo Zheng Xi.

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: MDA’s Licensing Requirement: Your Rights And Singapore’s Future At Stake | The Heart Truths
  2. Anthony Sim

    This is what I think about the government. They certainly are not the people’s government. They will spin anything and everything to their advantage, which is OK if there was constructive debate to go by. But no, they resort to implementing policies and regulations at their whims and fancies. So with this regulation, it is easier to punish than to be engaged in a conversation if the issues were not conducive to them.

    The Singapore govt pays their ministers exorbitantly to work for the people on every level of society. Is Yaccob Ibrahim being paid too much that he has to come up with this regulation? What has transpired to this decision when there was no harm caused to society in the internet sphere. So no news is good news, so he thinks? Or is he a believer of sanitized news and thinks it is good for the people? So we are all idiots and must be protected from undesirable sources. What a load of crap!

    Why are they wasting taxpayers money just to stifle intellectual freedom? Has Singapore suffered due to bloggers who wrote objective articles or has caused a wave of unruly protests? Or are they potentially a threat to the governing party who until today refuse to understand the concept of democracy, the people have been wanting for so long.

    I am aware when policies and regulations are made, they are set in stone. I wish you all every success in making MDA accountable for their decisions and whatever outcome, I am sure that I am not alone, will support your cause, dedication, passion and patriotism for a better Singapore.

  3. Pingback: [Announcement]: This Site Will Blackout Tomorrow to Protest Against MDA’s Licensing Rule | The Heart Truths
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