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The Independent launches promising Singapore ‘Responsible, intelligent, robust’ news reporting

Singapore’s latest addition to the online news media scene officially launched today, the 48th anniversary of independence for the citystate.

The Independent home page on launch day

The Independent, launched by the founder of the TODAY newspaper PN Balji and Kumaran Pillai, the former editor-in-chief of free-press activist group The Online Citizen, promises to offer the reader ‘Responsible, intelligent, robust’ reporting of Singaporean news.

The website has not had the easiest of beginnings. A week before launching it was instructed by Singapore’s media regulator to get a license that it says would prevent foreign backing of the publisher.

The Independent has agreed to do so, but in a post on its Facebook page insisted: “There is no foreigner in this team, nor has there ever been.”

The Media Development Authority has stated that it had “received specific information which gives it cause for concern over foreign interest to fund The Independent”.

The site has also published an article to make clear that it is a locally owned company.

The Independent is free for now, but will later put up a paywall.

In a recent interview with Mumbrella, Balji said: “We’re going with a paid subscription model, although our content will be free to begin with. We’ll see how things go.”

There is no advertising running on the site at this stage.

The launch edition includes a piece about the prime minister’s National Day speech and a piece on political myths in Singapore.

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