Late last month, the Singaporean Media Development Authority (MDA) announced a new regulation to the country’s online news sites, requiring them to apply for a new licence that allows the MDA to increase content regulation for the government. Under the terms of the new licence, the sites must comply within 24 hours to any directives given by the MDA to remove content found to be “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony and public morality,” or risk severe punishment (a fine of up to SG$200,000 or 3 years in jail).
The new regulation, naturally, has drawn fierce criticism from the Singaporean online community, with some questioning the loose choice of words used in the new regulation as well as the government’s lack of confidence in “the ability of the online community to police itself”.
As a result, over 130 websites consisting of blogs and alternative news sites have participated in an online blackout of their sites today, which is organized by a group called Free My Internet. The group are also organizing a physical protest that will be held on June 8 at Singapore’s Speakers’ Corner.
It remains to be seen, however, if the protests will be enough for the government to repeal the new licensing regulation.
(Source: CNET Asia)