Monday, 7 April 2014 To Register Under Broadcasting Act’s statement on the MDA regulations
In short, we will comply

We refer to the statement by the Media Development Authority (MDA) on March 27 regarding Project Fisher-men Ltd, the social enterprise that operates is an independent news and lifestyle website with a sharp focus on local current affairs.

The concern that foreign funding or any form of foreign influence impinging on our site’s activities, integrity or operations has never been an issue. The core team behind are Singaporeans who care deeply about issues that affect our country and Singaporeans. It is also our policy to post the identities of our editors and writers on our website.

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Singapore news website agrees to register under Broadcasting Act
Yahoo Newsroom - has become the third Singapore news website to be asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register for a broadcasting licence. (Facebook photo), the third Singapore news website asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register under the Broadcasting Act in the past year, has agreed to do so.

In a statement to Yahoo Singapore on Friday, they said, “We will accede to MDA's request to register under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act, and to comply with all laws, rules, regulations and codes of practice that have been put in place to regulate broadcasting in Singapore.”

The corporate entity behind the site, Project Fisher-Man Pte Ltd, was asked by MDA on 27 March to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, enacted under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act, MDA said accedes to MDA’s request to be registered
In a statement on Thursday, the Media Development Authority (MDA) said it had notified Project Fisher-Men Pte Ltd, a social enterprise on March 27 that its website, is to be registered under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, enacted under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act

The government agency said it had assessed that the website meets the registration criteria and it must register by April 11.

The local website,, has issued a statement on Friday afternoon to indicate that the site will accede to Media Development Authority (MDA)’s request.

Just last year, two local websites, Breakfast Network (BN) and (TISG) were requested by the MDA to fill up the same forms by Dec 10, 2013.

related: FreeMyInternet: Concerns over registration request on Mothership

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The team behind the social news and lifestyle website will comply with the Media Development Authority’s (MDA) request to register under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Mothership team said the website will comply with all laws, rules, regulations and codes of practice that have been put in place to regulate broadcasting in Singapore. It added that it will clarify its position regarding registration with the MDA as soon as possible

The team also said it hoped the move would allow it to continue serving the Singapore community “without fear or favour” and bring it a step closer to obtaining full media accreditation in Singapore.

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Social news website — which counts former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo among its contributors — has been asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register by next Friday

The MDA said yesterday it notified the website’s operators — social enterprise Project Fisher-Men — to do so on March 27, as it met registration criteria under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, which is part of the Broadcasting Act

The site engages in the “propagation, promotion or discussion of political issues relating to Singapore” and is structured as a corporate entity, which is deemed to be more “susceptible to coming under foreign influence through foreign funding”, the MDA said. asked to register under Broadcasting Act

Another social news website has been asked to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act. said the Media Development Authority had met their team on 27 March and requested that the website register within 14 days.

The website has four full-time staff and counts former Cabinet minister George Yeo as a contributor.

SOCIAL NEWS SITE MOTHERSHIP.SG ASKED TO REGISTER BY MDA, a social news website in Singapore has been asked by the MDA to register for a license under the Broadcasting (Class License) scheme.

The last websites which were asked to register included the Breakfast network and the Independent and the MDA justified it as a way to ensure that these websites did not receive foreign funding.

This administrative red tape caused the Breakfast Network to shut down operations while the Independent successfully registered.

Mothership website made to register with MDA

When Mothership was publicised by the ST in Feb this year (Social news website Mothership brings home discussion on Singapore, 3 Feb 2014), it was touted as the Singapore version of Buzzfeed. Backed by the likes of original social media advocate George Yeo and consisting of ex-Ministry men such as Jonathan Lim (MICA) and former PMO civil servant Martino Tan (who set up PM Lee’s Facebook page), it has all the makings of a casual yet Government-friendly portal, an alternative to ‘alternative media’. Executive director Lien We King is also an ardent supporter of George Yeo, who was among those helping the ex-minister collect presidential election eligibility forms back in 2011. ‘Foreign influence’ therefore seems to be the last thing MDA should worry about. In fact, there’s something so grounded and familial about Mothership that calling itself ‘Fathership’ as in ‘founding father’ wouldn’t be too off the mark either.

The odd man out, curiously, is New Nation’s Belmont Lay, who used to be Opposition candidate Nicole Seah’s campaign manager. New Nation is, of course, the satire site notorious for taking the monkey out of MDA. A post titled ‘MDA required to obtain $5 million licence from New Nation’ mocks the agency as ‘Murder Decimate Arserape‘. In an article written in his personal capacity, Belmont dished out some pro-tips on how to deal with the MDA’s licensing scheme, among which include:

There is no better way to deal with the licensing scheme than to act as if there is no licensing scheme. That would really show them.
Well now it’s the Mothership’s turn to be at the receiving end of the Mother of all arserapes. I wonder how the Mothership, with Belmont’s expert guidance, can steer itself out of this shit. Perhaps good ol’ George, chairman of Kerry Logistics, can help them out with the $50,000 ‘performance bond’.

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Wise Mental King
Mothership was asked to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification under the Broadcasting Act
They do have the fortune of looking at two precedents, as they rightly point out in their Facebook status:
“Registering is not as scary as it sounds because The Independent Singapore and Breakfast Network were previously asked to do the same… If we comply and register, we will go the way of The Independent
Singapore, who are still around, writing and publishing. If we don’t comply, we will go the way of Breakfast Network, which is now defunct.”
In fact, they’ve had the fortune to prepare for this to happen, as they were around when both The Independent Singapore and Breakfast Network were asked to register - and I probably think they have the foresight to see this coming.

It’s still kinda ridiculous - and sad - that they’ve been asked to register. MDA is sending a signal to all who wish to set up a news website as a business: you will end up being regulated. If I were to be cynical: bureaucracy will end up being the new censorship.

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If cannot operate in S’pore, they should move to Uranus, a Singaporean website about nothing in particular, has been ordered by the Media Development Authority to fill up pages and pages of paper forms to prove that the people behind it are literate.

Media analysts, who are analysing the case closely and probing for answers, said if fails to fill in the paper forms correctly, they cannot prove that they are a legit media site and will not have a choice but to move out of Singapore and most likely enter Uranus to continue operations. Self-styled political pundit and media analyst, Eric de Yaya, said the main thrust of the issue is clear: “ has been asked to register so they won’t feel alienated because many other sites have been asked to register before, so they form part of a continuum.”

“Therefore, even though the Internet is a vast space, it shouldn’t be surprising the authorities brought up this matter.”

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Social news website Mothership brings home discussion on Singapore

The crew are (from left) executive director Lien We King, director Edwin Ramesh, editor Belmont Lay, administrative staff Tan Wei Fen, editors Martino Tan and Jonathan Lim, and intern Sally Ong. - PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

 A social news website that wants to get more young people talking and learning about Singapore has relaunched to cope with high traffic. is styled in the mould of popular American site Buzzfeed. It has four full-time staff, former foreign minister George Yeo as a contributor and is backed by a social enterprise chaired by civil service veteran Philip Yeo.

They first went online last August and their first story - "48 reasons why you still feel for Singapore" - crashed the server for two hours as it was shared so widely.

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After socio-political website Breakfast Network decided to shut down after being told to register itself with the MDA, it has also been told to stop using Facebook and Twitter in the name of the website.

Breakfast network was originally asked to register with the MDA under the class licensing regulations and undertake not to receive any foreign funding.

The founder and owner of the website, Bertha Henson, had explained that there was too much red tape surrounding the registration and complying with MDA’s demands would mean that there was too much paper work to be done with regards to funding and advertising revenue which the website simply could not handle. 

related: Xenophobic MDA triggers Breakfast Network shutdown

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The only reason why Breakfast Network and The Independent got ask by MDA is because they are registered company in Singapore. The other alternative media perform like a blog and is not registered officially as anything.

Censoring other media platforms with a huge audience like The Online Citizen, The Real Singapore or Temasek Review Emeritus will face a much bigger backlash as they have so much more readership. So it would be wise for MDA to test water first and set a precedence by asking the newer sites like Breakfast Network and The Independent to register first. If next time the other sites are asked by MDA (which i think will be very soon!), MDA can always argue that Breakfast Network and The Independent were also ask to register.

The other alternative media such as those mentioned above operate anonymously and it is extremely difficult for MDA to tackle. They can always create a new domain name and divert their traffic over if MDA choose to block these sites from Singapore. Furthermore, I don't think MDA have the power to ask Facebook delete Facebook pages.

Internet Code of Conduct

Singapore 'not alone' in tweaking media laws

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said the rationale for licensing mainstream media is to ensure they report responsibly, and this rationale remains valid even with new media. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

Singapore is not the only country tweaking the laws governing traditional and online media, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday.

New Zealand and Britain are also reviewing their regulatory approaches and frameworks for new and old media.

His remarks yesterday follow concerns that the Government's move - requiring prominent local news sites to get licences - amounts to tighter regulation

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The Singapore Daily
– Sg Recalcitrant: Is this a prelude to a more sinister move to clamp down dissent
– Siew Kum Hong: Why Spore crackdown on online news reporting is a mistake
– Breakfast Network: Disquiet over licensing scheme – all quiet on the MDA front
– I On Singapore: MDA’s Licensing Scheme: A move to increase accountability
– Article 14: Making sense of the legislative framework underlying MDA’s move
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Lao Tzu on Yaacob’s regulations
– andyxianwong: A masterclass in authoritarianism, how to criminalise your critic
– Void Decker: A gangster asking for protection money
– Anyhow Hantam: Ethical Internet Conduct All Depends On The PAP
– My Singapore News: MDA’s licensing of social media, a pawn’s gambit
– The Chromosome 17: Why I am into Singapore Politics
– Zit Seng’s Superwall: Getting Around the New MDA Licensing Regime
– Little Ms Kaypoh: The New MDA Licensing Regime: Keeping Tabs
– Write to think, Singapore: How to write to think
– Sgpolitics: Websites in Singapore to Protest Against Licensing Requirement
– Ravi Philemon: Major online websites in Singapore protest
– TOC: MDA’s licensing regime: why YOU should care
– TRE: How is the Government going to censor SG online news?

– The Blogfather: The MDA Licensing Issue – Can’t We All Just Get Along?
– From the Desk of a Recruiter: License to speak
– I On Singapore: MDA’s Licensing Scheme: Chilling offensive content
– Breakfast Network: Expressed, Depressed, Repressed
– Breakfast Network: The mess that MDA is in
– Reflections on Change: Regulating Online News Sites — Losing The Online War
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: What happens in ST newsroom
– Website alternatives
– Singapolitics: The trouble with trying to control the Internet
– SG Web Reviews: Singapore Government moves to regulate online news
– The Finance: Paying $50,000 license for
– [FB] Donaldson Tan: In case you wonder what the new News Website Regulation
– A Singaporean in Australia: 10 Ways to Survive the MDA Cull
– Blogging for Myself: Dumb: From Pop. White Paper to MDA latest
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: MDA’s Broadcast Act: What will it achieve?
– Heart Truths: Letter to DPM Tharman: Feedback on New Licensing Framework
– Yawning Bread: Parity’s a good idea
– Wall Street Journal: Singapore Tightens Grip on Internet News Site

– Tots of a Cynical Investor: Is this “Singapore news and current affairs”?
– Signs of Struggle: MDA should give $50,000 a year to good responsible sites
– Dewdrop Notes 露语: The Axe Falls
– Article 14: From licensing to regulation of content
– DKSG: MDA to regulate online news sites with significant reach
– Where Bears Roam Free: PAP uses underhand backdoor method to control
– Breakfast Network: How the G came up with the licensing plan
– Blogging for Myself: MDA new rules on websites
– Spotlight on Sg: Curbing online dissent in Spore: MDA regulates online media
– Heart Truths: Letter to MDA: Feedback New Licensing Framework for Online
– A Sporean in Australia: Yahoo! Singapore News Under Heavy Siege
– Ravi Philemon: MDA’s new licensing framework may be misused for political
– sparrows and sandcastles: why is “singapore” doing this???
– Rachel Zeng: On MDA’s new licensing framework
– Sgpolitics: MDA’s new licensing scheme a cover for more oppressive
– My Singapore News: International websites to apply licence
– 103: Proceedings from the “Spore Computer Society’s Internet Regulations
– Publichouse: Gov’t continues to be out of touch
– Publichouse: Gov’t reneges on ‘light touch’ promise
– TRE: Tech lawyer: New MDA ruling is too broad
– ZDNet: S’pore instills new licensing rule for online news sites
– Mr Brown: MDA displays its light touch once again

– Breakfast Network: Licence scheme: Answers not very good leh
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Answering the PAP’s cock & bull about the “long term”
– Holly Jean: Crying Foul over MDA Licensing Framework for News Websites
– guanyinmiao’s musings: An Objective Neutral Internet? (Hint: It Doesn’t Exist)
– Signs of Struggle: Like a good journalist should
– DKSG: What happen to the Media Literacy Council?
– New Asia Republic: Why MDA’s licensing rule can be a credibility own goal
– Blogging for Myself: MDA fiasco: MSM made to look its worst
– Reflections on Change: Do Sporeans Believe What The Government Says?
– Ravi Philemon: How are existing regulations inadequate Yaacob?
– S M Ong: Singapore Internet regulation, 1996-style!
– The Kent Ridge Common: Internet freedom is vital to individual liberty
– Where Bears Roam Free: More horse manure from Yaacob Ibrahim
– Sgpolitics: #FreeMyInternet response to Dr Yaacob Ibrahim’s statements
– Heart Truths: Singapore’s Very Own Voting Blackout! #FreeMyInternet Now!
– InSing: Commentary: Outcry over MDA’s ruling not just about censorship
– TRE: Laws already exists to regulate news websites
– TRE: The real reason behind the Internet Crackdown
– Asiaone: New rules ‘will make netizens more cynical’
– Singapore’s websites must pay to mention Sg block LGBT

– Andrew Loh: #FreeMyInternet – Internet regulations saga takes bizarre turn
– Breakfast Network: Breakfast Network on Talking Point tonight
– SG Web Reviews: Civil Servant Buying $10 million condo unit
– Singapore Armchair Critic: Fight Internet Censorship, Free Your Mind
– Political Writings: What Are You Really Up To?
– A Yummy Slice of Life: To hell with thinking
– AndyXianWong: MDA’s absurd pretence of parity
– DKSG: #FreeMyInternet – How to take part?
– TRE: Proof that new MDA rulings are politically motivated

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