Individual views on personal websites, blogs exempt: MDA

INDIVIDUALS publishing views on current affairs and trends on personal websites or blogs are not subject to the licensing framework for news sites announced this week, the Media Development Authority (MDA) says.

“The licensing framework only applies to sites that focus on reporting Singapore news and are notified by MDA that they meet the licensing criteria,” MDA clarified in a post on its official Facebook page. “An individual publishing views on current affairs and trends on his/her personal website or blog does not amount to news reporting.”

The clarification is in response to online concerns that bloggers may be subject to the framework, which requires news sites with more than 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore a month over two months to be individually licensed from today. Such sites must also put up a performance bond of $50,000.

“The performance bond of $50,000 is pegged to that put up by niche broadcasters today, and need not necessarily entail cash upfront,” MDA wrote in the Facebook post. “Licensees can consider options such as banker’s guarantee or insurance. MDA will be happy to engage in further discussions with any licensee who may have concerns about meeting the licence obligations.”

MDA stressed the framework is not an attempt to influence the editorial slant of news sites. It will step in only when complaints are raised to its attention, and after the authority assesses that the content is in breach of the content guidelines, and merits action by the website owner.

Even before the framework, take-down requests have not been frequent. The authority has issued only one take-down notice in the past two years, and it was for the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

So far, 10 local news sites have been identified as requiring the individual licence. They are straitstimes.com, asiaone.com, businesstimes.com.sg, omy.sg, stomp. com.sg, tnp.sg, zaobao.com, channelnewsasia.com, todayonline. com and sg.news.yahoo.com.

There is no change to the content standards for these news sites, which are currently covered under the Internet Code of Practice, prohibiting content that is against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony and public morality.

Source Link :  Individual views on personal websites, blogs exempt: MDA

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