MDA bans extra-marital dating website Ashley Madison

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has banned extra-marital dating website Ashley Madison, deeming its content objectionable.

In a media statement, a spokesman said that while the Government adopts a pragmatic and light-touch approach to regulating Internet content, the MDA blocks "a limited number of sites as a symbolic statement of the types of content which the community is opposed to".

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

My Paper carried a report from The Straits Times today that the extramarital dating website was set to launch a Singapore edition this month despite widespread objections.

Earlier media reports had said that the website was planning a Singapore launch early next year.

The Canada-based website has over 21 million users worldwide. Its slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair."

Ashley Madison has already expanded to other Asian countries and territories such as Japan, and, more recently, Hong Kong in August.

Its foray into Hong Kong, where divorce cases hit a record high of 21,125 last year, was met with controversy as religious and family-planning groups criticised the website.

Singapore's Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing also strongly opposed the launch of the website in Singapore.

In a Facebook post two weeks ago, he wrote:

"I do not welcome such a website into Singapore. I'm against any company or website that harms marriage.

"Promoting infidelity undermines trust and commitment between a husband and wife, which are core to marriage. Our marriage vows make it clear that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. This includes staying faithful to one another.

"I'm heartened by the responses of many Singaporeans who also spoke up against such website. This reflects the significance we all place in commitment and fidelity in marriage."

In a statement posted on her Facebook page on Oct 25, MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Ms Low Yen Ling also expressed her concerns about the threat Ashley Madison poses on marriage and family, which she said is the "foundation and stability of our society."

"We must uphold fidelity.

"A website that encourages the breakdown of the family and extra marital affairs will only cause heartbreak and pain. I am glad that fellow Singaporeans are taking a strong stand against the careless promotion of infidelity and destructive disregard for what the breakdown of marriages and relationships could do to the individual, family and society.

"Families and marriages matter and are important to us. Let's protect our marriages and keep our families healthy."

candicec@sph.com.sg