Singapore clamps down on online news reporting

MDA logoThe Singapore government’s control of online media is set to get tighter after the country’s media regulator launched a new licensing system.

New rules issued by the Media Development Authority will mean that websites that report regularly on Singapore issues and have “significant reach” – more than 50,000 unique visitors per month – will need a license.

The license mandates that these sites comply to any calls from the MDA to delete content it believes breaches its standards within 24 hours.

Breaches would include stories that go “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony, public morality”.

These sites also have to pay a “performance bond” costing S$50,000.

The MDA said in a statement: “This will place them on a more consistent regulatory framework with traditional news platforms which are already individually licensed.”

The websites include,,,,,,,, and

Of those websites, the only one currently to not hold a license is Yahoo!

Alan Soon, country ambassador, Yahoo! Singapore, told Mumbrella in a statement: “We are not in a position to respond until we receive the actual license conditions for review. We are expecting that to come to us sometime in the week of 1 June. It is only after that we will be in a position to offer any comment.”

The move has already received criticism among Singaporeans online.

One poster beneath the story on Singapore-based Channel News Asia’s Facebook page read: “It’s like living in North Korea now. Time to migrate!”


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