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Singapore wants news sites to have a license to report

Singapore would love to be seen as a shining example of Eastern prosperity. It features gleaming clean cities, low crime rates and seemingly little dissent among the populace. Of course a lot of this is to do with the fact that caning children is an accepted practice, capital punishment has been liberally dished out for decades and the fact that protesting there is more than a little difficult. As it stands, the rest of the world – including its news sources – isn’t held to quite the same standards as locals outlets, but that could soon be changing, as the government is now looking to have websites that frequently report on the country, apply for licenses to do so.

“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. It’s also cited Yahoo news as a specific example of a website that would have to do so.

Singapore is great if you’re rich. And don’t do drugs. And don’t spit. Or chew gum. 

A large portion of the populace uses the internet as its main news outlet, at least partially because of its less regulated nature. With a long standing, single ruling party, Singapore’s government has maintained strict control of the local press for a long time, though this has proved far harder with international sources.

It’s unclear at this time how these licenses would work and whether refusing to apply for one would see the website blocked within the country. However, anyone that does follow through with the demand, will be required to spend 50,000 Singapore dollars (£26,600) and remove any objectionable content within 24 hours of Media Development Authority request.

As it stands, around ten websites have been highlighted for licensing talks.

KitGuru Says: Singapore would be a great setting for the new Mirror’s Edge game. A strict regime, harsh punishments, government lock downs. Am I way off base here?

[Thanks Reuters]

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