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
National

Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…