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

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.