Breakfast Network can't go on Facebook

Breakfast Network can't go on Facebook

Socio-political site Breakfast Network must not operate on any Internet platform, including Facebook or Twitter, as it has decided not to register with the Media Development Authority.

Making this clear on Friday, the regulator said in a media statement: "Should Breakfast Network Pte Ltd remain active as a company, it must not operate any iteration of www.breakfastnetwork.sg on other Internet platforms as doing so would contravene MDA's registration requirements."

This is because the website operates "via a corporate entity, which means there is greater possibility for foreign influence", and not because the site's content is an issue, said MDA.

The longstanding principle that politics must remain a matter "for Singapore and Singaporeans alone" is being upheld by requiring the website to register, the MDA added, and does not depart from Singapore's Internet regulatory framework.

Breakfast Network had announced on Monday it would not be registering under a class licensing Act. It was requested to do so by MDA on Nov 26. Three days later, its founder Bertha Henson asked MDA if the forms could be changed, but it replied that the forms were final.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the same day MDA told it to shut down, Breakfast Network cited reasons why it did not register. This included the need for voluntary contributors to be named in the registration forms.

MDA yesterday clarified that this was false. Instead, it was "pro bono editorial team members" who had to be listed if they were responsible for, or involved in, running and managing the site. It had informed Ms Henson of this on Dec 6.

On the same day, in response to her request for an extra month, MDA extended the registration deadline by a week to Dec 17, it revealed on Friday in an account of how events had unfolded.

The next day, Ms Henson informed MDA she would shut down the site. In a Facebook post about two hours after Friday's MDA statement, Ms Henson said Breakfast Network would be suspending its Facebook page for now, to comply with the law.

charyong@sph.com.sg


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