Singapore to regulate Yahoo, other online news sites

The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The Yahoo logo is shown at the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Websites that regularly report on Singapore including Yahoo News will have to get a license from June 1, putting them on par with newspapers and television news outlets, in a move seen by some as a bid to rein in free-wheeling Internet news.

“Online news sites that report regularly on issues relating to Singapore and have significant reach among readers here will require an individual license,” Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) said in a statement.

“This will place them on a more consistent regulatory framework with traditional news platforms which are already individually licensed,” the media regulator said.

Prosperous and orderly Singapore, a regional base for many multinationals and fund managers, is one of the world’s most wired-up cities with most people having broadband access.

It has long maintained strict controls on the media, saying that was necessary to maintain stability in a small, multi-racial country and that media must be held accountable for what they publish.

Lobby group Reporters Without Borders, in its latest report, ranked Singapore 149th globally in terms of press freedom, down 14 places from 2012 and below many of its neighbors.

In 2011, the city-state’s tiny opposition made big gains against the long-ruling People’s Action Party in parliamentary elections, partly by using the Internet to reach voters.

A survey by the Straits Times newspaper shortly before the vote found 36.3 percent of people between the ages of 21 and 34 cited the Internet as their top source of domestic political news compared with 35.3 percent who preferred newspapers.

“WILL FIND A WAY”

The MDA identified sg.news.yahoo.com, a service run by Internet giant Yahoo Inc, as among 10 sites that would be affected by the new requirement, based on criteria such as having 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore a month over a period of two months.

Yahoo declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“We are not in a position to respond until we receive the actual license conditions for review,” the head of its Singapore news service, Alan Soon, said.

Of the remaining nine sites, seven are run by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, whose publications tend to maintain a pro-government stance. The other two are operated by state-owned broadcaster Mediacorp.

Conditions for the sites that require individual licenses, which have to be reviewed annually, include a performance bond of S$50,000 ($39,700) and a requirement that objectionable content be removed within 24 hours when directed by the MDA.

The MDA said the new regulation did not apply to blogs, though adding: “If they take on the nature of news sites, we will take a closer look and evaluate them accordingly”.

The regulation drew criticism from some Internet users who saw it as an attempt to stifle online news not affiliated with the government.

On state-owned Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page, a person named Jeremy Tan likened the development to what goes on in China or North Korea.

“You can try to shut us up. We will find a way around it,” another internet user, Sushikin Ky, said on the Facebook page.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…