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The Online Citizen: Media regulator does not understand how internet works in Singapore

TOCThe owner of Singapore political blogging platform The Online Citizen has made a statement declaring that the country’s media regulator does not understand how the internet works in the citystate, and is “obsessed” with news sites that it suspects have foreign backing.

The Opinion Collaborative was obliged to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification of the Broadcasting Act, as Singapore’s Media Development Authority wanted to ensure that the firm was not supported by overseas interests.

TOC submitted its completed forms today, and in a statement said that suspicions of foreign influences funding TOC are “completely unfounded”.

The firm also said that the MDA’s focus on preventing foreign influence on news reportage in Singapore is impeding the regulator’s role in supporting the media industry.

TOC stated: “MDA’s excessive and unwarranted concern with foreign funding has hampered its ability to be an effective media developer.”

“Through this exercise [registration], MDA has exhibited a lack of understanding in how the new media environment in Singapore operates, particularly for a social enterprise that depends on donations for revenue,” the firm stated.

“MDA’s obsession with foreign funding, unfortunately, also hampers our operational effectiveness – as owners of a small business, we cannot possibly afford to spend time filling in forms every month.”

TOC called on the MDA to scrap a licensing framework that was introduced last year to more tightly control online news reporting in Singapore.

“MDA should do away with such a regulatory framework completely. We would like to remind MDA of its stated aim for media regulation: “In supporting the growth of Singapore’s media sector, MDA fosters a conducive business environment through regulatory policies that encourage investment and innovation, while providing more content choices for consumers.” We do not see how this regulatory framework helps it achieve that,” TOC stated.

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