News portal The Independent sends registration forms to MDA

News portal The Independent sends registration forms to MDA

SINGAPORE - Fledgling news and current affairs website The Independent submitted forms to the Media Development Authority (MDA) on Thursday, the deadline for it to register with the Government and agree not to receive foreign funding.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for the MDA said they had received the documents, "and are currently reviewing them".

The press secretary to Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, in a separate statement, said that by submitting the forms, The Independent is "accepting an important and fundamental principle that foreign entities should never engage in Singapore politics, nor should foreign interests be allowed to control or influence our local media platforms, offline or online". The ministry oversees the MDA.

She added: "This is how we ensure Singapore politics remains a matter for Singaporeans alone.

"Any attempt to directly or indirectly circumvent this principle is wrong, must be resisted by any responsible media platform and will not be condoned by the Government."

The Independent, which started operating on Aug 9, was asked to register in July under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.

It became the first site asked to do so, after the Government received information that it said gave it "cause for concern over foreign interest to fund" the site.

But the registration would "not in any way" affect what it can publish, the MDA added in a statement then.

The Independent's team includes Mr P. N. Balji, a former editor-in-chief of the Today freesheet.

He declined comment last night.

Last Tuesday, another socio-political site, Breakfast Network, was also asked to register with the MDA.

The site, headed by former Straits Times associate editor Bertha Henson, has until Tuesday to comply.

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