New local news website asked to register

The Media Development Authority (MDA) has asked a local online newspaper called The Independent, due to launch on Aug 9, to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification and to undertake not to accept foreign funding.

"The Government has received specific information which gives it cause for concern over foreign interest to fund The Independent," MDA said on Monday.

"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."

The promoters of the website have agreed to comply, MDA said.

In a response posted on its website on Monday night, The Independent said its shares are restricted to Singaporeans, permanent residents and local entities. The board and the core team behind the website are also Singaporeans.

Among its founders is Mr P. N. Balji, a former editor of The New Paper and Today.

"We would like to highlight that the posture of The Independent is and has always been to be a purely Singaporean-funded media operation which does not accept foreign funds...," it said.

It added that it will be pleased to register and comply with all the relevant laws and regulations.


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