Yahoo! Singapore News Under Heavy Siege

From TODAY, 
SINGAPORE — Ten local news websites, with “significant reach” here and which report regularly on Singapore-related news, will now fall under a new licencing regime regulated by the Media Development Authority (MDA).
The news websites all belong to major broadcasters or publishers in Singapore, which are licensed, with the exception of Yahoo! Singapore News, which does not yet have a media licence.
Read the rest of it here [link]

Heng ah. Only online news websites need apply licence to report facts publish news. You socio-political sites must be heaving a sigh of relief. Will they stop at this and leave 'alternative new sites' alone? Don't hold your breath. If When that happens, it will be time for naughty bloggers to worry as well. Not me though, I'm safe - unless they bring down the criteria to 50 unique visitors a month or something. I'm not gloating here. In fact I feel disappointed with the Singapore Government yet again - I'll tell you why.

What does this new license regime do? In a nutshell, it allows MDA to remove any content on any 'licenced' website within 24 hours from an MDA directive. Any content that they find to be in a "breach of standard." This is 2013 so let's not kid ourselves. This is Singapore, not North Korea. Can Singaporeans please ask themselves why did the staff of MDA spent manhours of taxpayers' money to derive a new policy that only affects 10 parties namely:


of which 9 of these websites belong to SPH except 1 which was, not surprisingly, "unlicensed"? Can MDA justify their cause as a move to serve their citizens as they are supposed to be paid to do so? Or is this another Government-serving, anti people policy? We saw this coming believe it or not, just by looking back at recent history where SPH made their move on Yahoo!

Barely a month later, Yahoo! struck back,

When the objective cannot be achieved by legal means, it seems all but a coincidence that Yahoo! has a regulatory issue now. How very surprising. TODAY online provided an explanation of prohibited material as any content that is "against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony and public morality". I can't believe they added in morality. Sociologists have spent centuries debating morality but it seems that MDA has successfully define morality. The special new regime that affects only 1 entity seems to suggest MDA sees Yahoo! as a anti-security online terrorist. 

Singapore is ranked 149th on the Press Freedom index in 2013. Obviously this is an area where the Singapore Government has no intention of claiming their usual number one spot and makes no apologies for it. Do Singaporeans deserve anything outside the propaganda they have been fed for decades? Can Singaporeans condone this or will they be happy to continue living in the matrix?

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