SINGAPORE - A new local news and current affairs website called The Independent, due to launch on Aug 9, has been asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification. It has agreed to comply.
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Read the full statement from the Media Development Authority here:
The Media Development Authority (MDA) has notified the promoters of The Independent (theindependent.sg), a news and current affairs website, to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, which was enacted under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act. As part of the registration, they will be required to undertake not to receive foreign funding for its provision, management and/or operation.
The promoters of The Independent have agreed to register and to undertake not to accept foreign funding.
The Independent is owned by a locally incorporated company Protegesoft Pte Ltd. Its stated aim is to bring in-depth perspective and analysis on current affairs, economics and politics in Singapore. The Government has received specific information which gives it cause for concern over foreign interest to fund The Independent.
The registration and undertaking will not in any way affect what The Independent can publish on its website. However, it will prevent The Independent from being controlled by, or coming under the influence of, foreign entities or funding, and ensure that Singapore politics remain a matter for Singaporeans alone.
It is a firmly established principle that foreign entities may not engage in Singapore politics.
Foreign interests are not allowed to control or worse to manipulate our local media platforms, which are prime vehicles for political influence. The Newspaper and Printing Page 2 of 2 Presses Act and the Broadcasting Act therefore empower the government to restrict and control the ownership of newspapers and broadcast media.
The need to prevent foreign interests from influencing local politics through the Singaporean media remains the same whether in print, broadcast, or online. When MDA reviews the Broadcasting Act, it will look into incorporating more comprehensive safeguards in the Act to prevent this from happening.