States Times Review shuts down amid fears of fake news crackdown, but morphs into ‘personal blog’

Confusion surrounds the “closure” of news website States Times Review which, according to its owner, political activist Alex Tan, has now transformed into a “personal blog”.

A post on the Facebook page of the anti-establishment site – which has long-said it was based in Australia – told readers it would be targeted by the “dictatorship” in Singapore amid the likely introduction of anti-fake news laws.

The post said it would be accused on “false charges of propagating fake news and foreign funding”, and taken down.

“As such, States Times Review will shut down voluntarily….ending its 51 months of operation as a news media,” it said.

Yet, in an additional line on its website message, the publisher said the “website, domain and future content will continue as the personal blog of Alex Tan”.



The change from news outlet to personal blog was been reflected in the ‘About’ section of The States Times Facebook page, which is followed by more than 50,000 people.



Some readers questioned, however, why, if the States Times Review was based in Australia, it feared being shut down.

The questions went unanswered.

The site was originally called The Straits Times Review, but changed its name following the threat of action from Singapore Press Holdings over the similarity to its flagship title The Straits Times.

The States Times Review describes itself as ‘Singapore’s only independent media’.

Tan was also the co-founder of socio-political The Real Singapore which has its license suspended by Singapore’s media regulator in 2015 for publishing “inflammatory” content that it considered a threat to public order and national harmony.

Tan launched the Straits Times Review immediately after The Real Singapore website was taken down.

The Singapore Government is currently examining a report by the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods which drew up 22 recommendations to tackle the spread of fake news.


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