Sign up | Log in



Home  >>   Daily News  >>   Singapore News  >> Media  >> Singapore to licence online news
NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   7 June 2013  

Singapore to licence online news

 Singapore government's approach to regulating the Internet with a "light touch" remains despite a new move to license online news sites, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday.

But the light touch does not mean the Internet and online behaviour are not regulated, he told reporters during a discussion as he addressed concerns that the rules were a first step towards tighter control of the Internet.

"Like our regulations in the physical world, our regulations for online space are meant to ensure that people are responsible for their actions, which have real-world consequences," he said at the discussion at his ministry.

"There are actions that should not be condoned, whether online or offline. For example, someone who causes alarm to the public through false information should not get immunity simply because he operates online. Neither should someone who incites racial or religious hatred," he said.

The new licensing rules were announced last week and took effect on Saturday.

Ten sites, which put out Singapore news regularly, each with at least 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore every month, will be licensed and have to put up a S$50,000 (US$39,900) performance bond.

The rules drew criticism, especially from the online community, who felt they were aimed at restricting online discourse.

A group calling itself "Free My Internet" said yesterday that the public should have been consulted before the changes were made. It is planning an online "blackout" of some sites tomorrow and a gathering at Speakers' Corner on Saturday to protest against the ruling.

Asked if the new rules could have been communicated better, Yaacob said perhaps people could have been given more time to digest the changes.

Still, he maintained that the changes were not "a fundamental shift" but merely a "tweak".

He said they were not triggered by any particular online incident or targeted at any website. Rather, they were driven by what he described as the "brutal forces" of media convergence brought about by technological change.

He noted that more Singaporeans now get their news and current affairs information online, and Internet content is published and spread swiftly.

"This makes it more important to ensure that online news sites with significant reach, and hence impact on Singaporeans, do not carry prohibited content and if they do, that they take down such content as soon as possible."

The new licensing scheme is aimed at bringing regulatory parity to traditional and online news platforms.

Yaacob pointed out that although online sites have come under a class licence scheme since 1996, the Media Development Authority (MDA) has been restrained in asking for objectionable content to be removed.

It issued a take-down notice once for religiously offensive content last year. Another 23 instances over the years concerned other prohibited content such as pornographic material and advertisements soliciting for sex or sex chats, and most followed public complaints.

"There has not been an instance where the MDA has directed sites to take down content that is critical of the government or any minister," he said.

Yaacob said the new rules are not as onerous as they have been made out to be by critics. "Nowhere do the guidelines state that news sites cannot question or highlight the shortcomings of government policies, as long as the assessments are well-intentioned, and not based on factual inaccuracies with the intention to mislead the public," he said.

The definition of "news" for this law was also not specially drafted but adapted from existing legislation. The content standards were also the same as those under the class licence scheme and the Internet Code of Practice.

So, there was "no logic" in arguments that licensed sites would be limited in what they do.

"There is even less logic in the argument that sites which are still class licensed will limit public discourse," he added.

It would be best for people to see if activists are indeed limited in what they can say after the licences are issued, he said.

"I expect that the sites will continue to operate as before. I hope that the activists who are today making this far-fetched claim will be honest enough to admit it when the time comes," he said.


Reach Southeast Asia!
10- Nations, 560- Million Consumers
And $1 -Trillion Market
We are the Voice of Southeast Asia Media Kit
The only Media Dedicated to Southeast Asia Advertising Rates for Magazine
Online Ad Rates

Comment on this Article. Send them to

Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below

Today's  Stories    7 June 2013 Subsribe Now !
• ASEAN Customs Directors General Meet with US-ABC to Further Trade Facilitation Subcribe: Asean Affairs Global Magazine
• Road map for a low-carbon Thailand Asean Affairs Premium
• WEF Myanmar meet brings delegates from around the world
• Myanmar stock exchange to open in 2015
Research Reports
on Thailand 2007-2008

•Textiles and Garments Industry

•Coffee industry

•Leather and footwear industry

•Shrimp industry

• Singapore to licence online news
• Overseas Filipinos at rish from Middle East Coronavirus
• Thai alternative bourse lists entertainment content creator on June 6
Asean Analysis            4 June 2013 Advertise Your Brand
• Asean Analysis- June 4, 2013
MTF 2013 in China ’s Guilin announced
Asean Stock Watch     4 June 2013
• Asean Stock Watch-June 4, 2013  

ASEAN NEWS UPDATES      Updated: 04 January 2011

 • Women Shariah scholars see gender gap closing
• Bank Indonesia may hold key rate as inflation hits 7 percent
• Bursa Malaysia to revamp business rules
• Private property prices hit new high in Singapore • Bangkok moves on mass transport
• Thai retailers are upbeat
• Rice exports likely to decline • Vietnamese PM projects 10-year socioeconomic plan


This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






1.  Verifier

1. Verifier

For security purposes, we ask that you enter the security code that is shown in the graphic. Please enter the code exactly as it is shown in the graphic.
Your Code
Enter Code

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Special Feature | Features | News | Magazine | Events | TV | Press Release | Advertise With us

Our Products | Work with us | Terms of Use | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Shipping/Delivery Policy | DISCLAIMER |

Version 5.0
Copyright © 2007-2015 TIME INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT ENTERPRISES CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Bangkok, Thailand