It is heartening to see a group of prominent sociopolitical blogs coming together to issue an official statement to renounce the licensing framework by Media Development Authority. As a blogger and Singapore citizen, I am concerned about the licensing framework too.
I really hope MDA will withdraw this badly written licensing framework. Although MDA claims that the framework is not intended to clamp down on Internet freedom, it can be used in such a manner if the Government wants to.
Thursday, 30 May 2013 MAJOR ONLINE WEBSITES IN SINGAPORE TO PROTEST AGAINST LICENSING REQUIREMENT
The Media Development Authority had, on Tuesday, introduced a “licensing framework” that would require “online news sites” to put up a “performance bond” of $50,000 and “comply within 24 hours to MDA’s directions to remove content that is found to be in breach of content standards”.
As part of the community of websites in Singapore that provide sociopolitical news and analysis to Singaporeans, we are concerned about the impact of the newly-introduced requirement on fellow Singaporeans’ ability to receive diverse news information.
While the S$50,000 performance bond is a drop in the ocean for a mainstream news outlet with an online presence, it would potentially be beyond the means of volunteer run and personal blogging platforms like ours. Hence, MDA’s claim that the licensing regime is intended to equalize the playing field between online and offline news is incorrect: the regulations will disproportionately affect us.
Further, we believe that the introduction of the licensing regime has not gone through the proper and necessary consultation and had been introduced without clear guidance. In a typical public consultation exercise, a government agency will publish a draft regulation with detailed explanation and issue a press release to invite members of the public to send in feedback for consideration. We observe this is not the case for the licensing regime.
We call on the Ministry of Communications and Information to withdraw the licensing regime. We call upon our elected representatives to oppose the licensing regime.
It is in the interest of Singaporeans and the long-term future for Singapore that the licensing regime be withdrawn.
The new licensing regime has the very real potential to reduce the channels available to Singaporeans to receive news and analysis of the sociopolitical situation in Singapore and it is in the interest of all Singaporeans to guard against the erosion of news channels that Singaporeans should rightfully have access to.
These new regulations significantly impact Singaporeans’ constitutionally protected right to free speech, and they should not be introduced without the most rigorous public debate and discussion.
The new regulations, and the manner in which they have been imposed by regulatory fiat, are unacceptable in any developed democracy.
Leong Sze Hian – http://leongszehian.com/
Andrew Loh – http://publichouse.sg
Ravi Philemon – http://www.raviphilemon.net/
Kumaran Pillai – http://sgvoize.wordpress.com/
Terry Xu – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Richard Wan – http://www.tremeritus.com/
Choo Zheng Xi – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Howard Lee – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Rachel Zeng – http://rachelzeng.wordpress.com/, http://singaporeantideathpenaltycampaign.wordpress.com/
Roy Ngerng – http://thehearttruths.com/
Kirsten Han – http://spuddings.net/
Gilbert Goh – http://www.transitioning.org/
Nizam Ismail – http://nizamosaurus.wordpress.com/
Lynn Lee – http://www.lianainfilms.com/
Biddy Low – http://publichouse.sg/
Alex Au – http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/
Martyn See – http://singaporerebel.blogspot.sg/
Howard Lee – http://theonlinecitizen.com/
Elaine Ee – http://publichouse.sg/
Lim Han Thon – http://publichouse.sg
Joshua Chiang – http://www.facebook.com/joshuafly
Donaldson Tan – http://newasiarepublic.com
Stephanie Chok – http://littlemskaypoh.wordpress.com
Jolovan Wham – http://www.workfairsingapore.wordpress.com
The wait is over. The Chromebooks have arrived Singapore after launching in Malaysia last week. There are currently 3 models of Chromebooks available: Acer Chromebook, HP Pavilion Chromebook and Samsung Chromebook. Nope, Chromebook Pixel is not available in Singapore yet.
The Acer Chromebook has a 11.6 inch screen and weighs 1.4 kg with up to 4 hours of battery. Suggested retail price for the Acer Chromebook is S$369
The HP Pavilion Chromebook is the largest of all 3 Chromebook with a 14 inch BrightView LED backlit display. Weighs just 1.8KG and have a battery life of 4.25 hours. Suggested retail price for the HP Pavilion Chromebook is S$449.
The Samsung Chromebook has a 11.6 inch screen and weighs 1.1kg with up to 6.5 hours of battery. Suggested retail price for the Samsung Chromebook is S$449.
All 3 Chromebooks are now available at Courts retails stores in Singapore. Unfortunately all 3 Chromebooks that are available in Singapore only comes with Wifi. No news on the 3G version yet.
OtterBox recently announced its new series of protective cases for the Samsung GALAXY S4, which offers the highest level of defense against even the most prolific drops, bangs, bumps and scratches.
The entire family of OtterBox cases for Samsung GALAXY S4 features four series. Each offers different levels of mobile device protection that suit varying lifestyles — avid rock climbers, leisure beach goers, fitness nuts, business professionals or on-the-go moms.
Besides the new Samsung GALAXY S4 protective case range, OtterBox also offers protection for other popular smartphones including HTC ONE, iPhone5 and many more.
If you are careless and always drop your phone on the floor or you have kids at home, consider getting a good protective case like OtterBox. Trust me, it is worth the investment.
The Hello Kitty craze is back. McDonalds Singapore will be launching the Hello Kitty Fairy Tale Collection from 30 May 2013. There are 6 different designs in this series.
The Wizard of Oz – 30 May to 5 June 2013
Little Red Riding Hood – 6 June to 12 June 2013
The Frog Prince – 13 June to 19 June 2013
The Ugly Duckling – 20 June to 26 June 2013
The Singing Bone – 27 June to 3 July 2013
Witch – Available from 30 May 2013 via McDelivery
Each Hello Kitty cost S$4.60 with purchase of an Extra Value Meal. Happy Collecting!
From June 1, websites that report Singapore news and have significant reach will require individual licences from Media Development Authority (MDA) to operate.
Under the new licensing framework announced today, online news sites will be individually licensed if they report an average of at least one article per week on Singapore’s news and current affairs over a period of two months, and are visited by at least 50,000 unique IP addresses from Singapore each month over a period of two months. When MDA has assessed that a site has met the criteria to be individually licensed, MDA will issue a formal notification and work with the site to move it to the new licensing framework.
Once an online news site is deemed by MDA to have met the criteria, it will be required to put up a performance bond of $50,000 like all other individually-licensed broadcasters. According to MDA, the new Licence provides greater clarity on prevailing requirements within the Class Licence and Internet Code of Practice. The Licence makes it clear that online news sites are expected to comply within 24 hours to MDA’s directions to remove content that is found to be in breach of content standards like content that is “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony, public morality”.
Currently, there are 10 news sites that are deemed by MDA to have met the criteria. The 10 sites are: Asiaone.com, Businesstimes.com.sg, Channelnewsasia.com, Omy.sg, Sg.news.yahoo.com, Stomp.com.sg, Straitstimes.com, Tnp.sg, Todayonline.com, Zaobao.com
Currently, all the sites that are affected by this new licensing framework are from SPH, MediaCorp and Yahoo. But nothing is stopping MDA from adding sites like TheOnlineCitizen, Publichouse, Yawning Bread or any blogger with significant reach. 50k unique IP address per month isn’t difficult to reach. I’m worried that this will further restrict the freedom of speech in Singapore.
This whole thing seems like a badly written framework that is implemented without consulting the public. And the new licensing framework leave many questions unanswered.
1) What if a site is deemed by MDA to have met the criteria but couldn’t pay the $50,000 bond? Does that mean the site need to be shut down or stop reporting Singapore news?
2) What if a news website refuse to comply? What are the penalties? Will these sites be blocked by local ISP?
3) What about websites/blogs hosted on server outside Singapore? Can MDA regulate these sites?
4) What about Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter account with more than 50,000 reach? Will these be regulated?
5) What about foreign news sites like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera etc etc? I’m pretty sure some of them meets the criteria too. What if they refuse to pay the $50,000 bond?
6) And most importantly, what is MDA’s definition of content that is “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony, public morality”? Update: According to Reuters, MDA said that 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”.