Licensing rules for news websites angers Singapore bloggers
City state's media authority introduces licensing rules for online news services in a move denounced as 'censorship, plain and simple'
Agence France-Presse in Singapore
Singapore's online community has reacted angrily to an announcement that news websites - including one operated by Yahoo - will have to obtain licences subjecting them to rules for traditional media in the city state.
Websites that report regularly on Singapore news and which have at least 50,000 visitors a month will have to obtain annual licences, the Media Development Authority said on Tuesday. They also will have to remove content found to be in breach of its standards within 24 hours.
"This is censorship, plain and simple," said Lee Kin Mun, a Singaporean blogger better known by his Web name, "Mr Brown".
"Trying to regulate the internet is like trying to grab jelly - the tighter your grip on it, the faster it leaks out of your hand," he said.
Singapore's traditional media are widely seen as pro-government, prompting people to seek alternative news sources amid growing political discontent.
News site of Yahoo Singapore was on a list of 10 websites that will have to obtain annual licences starting Saturday. It has become a magnet for anti-government comments posted by readers in reaction to local news.
International media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres ranks Singapore 149th globally in press freedom this year, down 14 places from last year and below Malaysia and Indonesia.
Additional reporting by Associated Press