Liang Hwei  |  Singapore
Published 2014-09-30 15:30:18

Prominent political news source The Online Citizen is the latest target of the Media Development Authority (MDA). It has been asked to register with it. According to an official MDA press release:

“The Media Development Authority (MDA) has, on 30 Sept 2014, notified The Opinion Collaborative Ltd (TOC Ltd), the corporate entity behind The Online Citizen (TOC), to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, which was enacted under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act.”

According to the release, the licensing will include TOC Ltd not receiving foreign funding for its provision, management and/or operation, in order to “uphold the principle that politics must remain a matter for Singapore and Singaporeans alone”.

The Online Citizen is well known for being an alternative news source for politics in Singapore, dedicated to “provide an online platform for Singaporeans to champion causes and values that promote justice, openness and inclusiveness”. They are also gazetted as a political association under the Prime Minister’s Office. The request for registration was acknowledged by the publication with a Facebook post on their page.

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The Online Citizen has also replied with an article, stating that it is “studying the registration requirements.” It also says that registration will not affect the content published on its website.

“The social enterprise will be discussing the details with MDA. A response will be made in due course.”

– The Online Citizen

It isn’t the first publication to be asked to register. Both The Independent and Mothership.sg have been registered under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.

However, Breakfast Network chose to shut down operations as a company when faced with the same request in December last year. According to the MDA, the Breakfast Network operating without a license creates a “greater possibility for foreign influence”.

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