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May 30, 2013

Singapore: Regulation or censorship?

Journalists and bloggers criticise country's new media law.

View of Singapore from above via Flickr user Small


Singaporean journalists and bloggers are criticising a new media regulation that they believe will stifle independent news and information about the country.
Set to take effect on June 1, the law will require online news sites to pay a S$50,000 bond (approximately $39,500 USD) and obtain individual licences if they meet certain conditions. The conditions include publishing at least one report about Singapore per week and receiving at least 50,000 unique visitors to their site each month over a period of two months. The new rules will bar these sites from posting content that “undermines racial or religious harmony" and will require them to take down prohibited content within 24 hours of being notified by authorities.
So far, ten websites have been named to fall under the new licence requirements, including Yahoo! Singapore, which hosts a considerable amount of content from independent contributors. Bloggers fear the Media Development Authority will target their websites next.