MDA seeks clarity from Breakfast Network founder

SINGAPORE - The Media Development Authority is seeking clarity from Breakfast Network founder Bertha Henson on who exactly will own and run the different online iterations of the socio-political news site.

This, after she announced on Monday that she would be shutting down the company behind the site in a move she hopes will allow her team to continue writing on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter under the moniker.

MDA said in a statement on Monday night: "She has not clearly indicated to us who would own and run the various online iterations of Breakfast Network, when these services cease to exist under the corporate entity, Breakfast Network Pte Ltd (BNPL). We can only advise her when she has clarity herself on the next steps." MDA also refuted Ms Henson's allegations that it had been vague and late in its replies to her.

The statement was prompted by Ms Henson's announcement in a post on the Breakfast Network Facebook page on Monday that she had decided to shut down BNPL because being a corporate entity "appears to be the main sticking point with the MDA". She added that Breakfast Network is seeking clarification on whether the dissolution means it can operate on Facebook and Twitter, or whether the main website can be used again.

The saga started last month, when Breakfast Network was told it had to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.

This meant it also had to undertake not to receive any foreign funding, a move meant to guard against foreign influence on Singapore politics through the manipulation of local media platforms.

Last Tuesday, Breakfast Network announced it would not register, citing "onerous" registration forms, and proceeded to shut down its website.

This prompted the MDA to say last Friday that should Breakfast Network remain active as a company, it could not operate on any Internet platform. The site's content was not an issue but being a corporate entity, there was "greater possibility for foreign influence", the MDA added.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.