Foreign media representatives in Singapore voiced deep concern yesterday over government moves to assert tighter state control over their broadcasts. The rare public dispute came after MPs approved a key vote on a bill enabling the Government to curtail or halt cable broadcasts from foreign companies deemed to be interfering in domestic politics. The bill, an amendment to the Broadcasting Authority Act, passed its second reading yesterday. It will become law after members approve a third reading - a parliamentary technicality. Christopher Donville, president of Singapore's Foreign Correspondents' Association, said his members were 'concerned that the legislation may impede the flow of accurate and legitimate information into and out of Singapore'. The association, which claims more than 200 members from foreign media groups based in the city-state, called for discussions with Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. No response was immediately available from Mr Goh's office. The proposed amendment gives the Government the right to restrict an errant broadcaster's reach by halting or curtailing distribution of its programmes by cable. Fines may also be levied. Minister for Information and the Arts Lee Yock Suan told Parliament: 'This bill makes it clear to foreign broadcasters that while they can sell their services to Singaporeans, they should not interfere with our domestic politics.' Mr Lee said the changes would bring the rules that govern foreign broadcasters into line with legislation for non-Singaporean printed media. Under a 1986 amendment, which has been used in the courts several times, the Government may restrict an offending paper's circulation. Yesterday the minister said the bill was not intended to restrict the ability of foreign media to report, provided they did so 'based on the principles of accuracy, fairness and balance'. 'They should not be involved in local political issues, or try to influence Singaporeans on such issues. In our general elections . . . they should not take sides either for or against any political party or politician in their reporting,' Mr Lee said. Failure to comply with the act could result in fines of up to S$100,000 (HK$430,000).