SINGAPORE - Media regulator the Media Development Authority (MDA) will not influence the editorial slant of websites but will take firm action if there is a breach of public interest or the promotion of racial and religious hatred or intolerance.
In a statement on its Facebook page last weekend, it wrote that netizens can and should continue to signal to Internet content providers the standards expected of them as part of efforts to promote responsible online behaviour.
The post was made in response to a petition to shut down citizen journalism website Stomp, which is owned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). The petition claims to have collected more than 22,700 signatures since being set up 11 days ago on international campaigning site change.org by 26-year-old retail executive Robin Li.
In its reply, the MDA said to netizens: "Should you believe that Stomp, together with other class-licensed and individually licensed sites merit stronger regulation, we invite you to propose how the standards should be tightened. Let's build a healthy online environment together."
Mr Li told The Straits Times that he launched the petition after a March 24 post on Stomp in which an NSman was accused by a Stomp contributor of failing to offer his seat to an elderly woman in front of him.
But one picture in the post's photo gallery showed a reserve seat near the NSman that was empty.
Mr Li said that was the "last straw". "Many netizens contribute posts that are at the expense of others, especially NSmen. Their faces are not blurred either... this promotes voyeurism and comes at the expense of their privacy," he said.
Mr Felix Soh, editor, digital media group, of SPH's Digital Division which oversees Stomp, denied Mr Li's accusations and pointed out that there was no attempt to hide any information in the March 24 story.