Home News MDA's Move Overly Intrusive, says Maruah

MDA's Move Overly Intrusive, says Maruah




- Advertisement -

Here is a letter from Braema Mathi, president of  Maruah, to The Independent Singapore.
Maruah is deeply concerned at the closure of Breakfast Network’s website as a result of their decision not to submit the registration forms required by the Media Development Authority (MDA).
MDA had, in a statement to The Independent published on Dec 4 2013, responded to Maruah’s earlier statement about MDA’s move to require Breakfast Network and The Independent to register, as well as the pending contempt of court charge against Mr Alex Au. In that response, MDA stated that foreign entities may not be allowed to control local media platforms; registration does not “seek to affect what The Independent and Breakfast Network can publish on their site”, similar to how MARUAH — who have also registered with MDA as a political website — has been able to freely comment on issues and policies; and registration does not prevent the two sites from receiving “bona fide commercial revenue, foreign advertisers included” and does not require the two sites to “provide detailed information of their subscriber base”.
The closure of Breakfast Network’s website demonstrates that regardless of MDA’s stated intent, the registration requirement has chilled and reduced the space for free expression in Singapore. As a regulator tasked with developing the media landscape in Singapore, MDA should consider the substantive impact of its decisions, not just its own subjective intent. Registration requirements can operate to censor free expression as effectively as, and more insidiously than, outright demands to remove content.
The forms published by Breakfast Network also show that MDA has asked them, if not The Independent, to identify every person who has provided funding to them, as well as every subscriber and advertiser who contributes 5 per cent or more of their subscription or advertising revenue. As we stated previously, these requirements, in particular the former, are overly intrusive and go far beyond what is necessary to satisfy the stated objective of preventing foreign influence over the media. Even the Political Donations Act, under which Maruah has been gazetted as a political association and which also regulates political parties, does not require every person who has provided funding to be specifically identified.
Finally, MDA’s statement raises questions about its inconsistent application of policy on foreign entities in local media, given that Yahoo! Singapore, which is individually licensed by MDA, is a US-owned operation.
We again call on MDA to reverse its actions against Breakfast Network and The Independent. A thriving online media environment benefits Singapore and Singaporeans, and those actions are clearly regressive moves.

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

National reserves: Whatever their strategic value, Singaporeans have right to know how they are managed

  The ruling People’s Action Party is weaponising knowledge of the exact amount of Singapore’s national reserves as a way of helping it stay in power. That’s unacceptable. It does not have such an in perpetuity right. One of the debates in...

Jolin Tsai’s perky butt got the internet abuzz

Taipei -- Mandopop diva Jolin Tsai isn't shy of flaunting her figure in all kinds of sexy and revealing outfits and her fans are just lapping it up. The 40-year-old singer uploaded a couple of photos from her trip to Yangmingshan...

Man attacks teen, calls him a virus, damages his phone

Singapore—A sudden attack took a teen by surprise when one man started yelling at him, physically harming him, and throwing his phone into a nearby drain at around 10.30pm on Tuesday (Feb 23) on a section of the road near the...

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg