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Friday, January 27, 2023

Singapore news site suspended, critics worried about censorship

The regulator said that a Singapore news website that often criticizes the authorities was revoked on Tuesday for failing to declare the source of funds. A human rights group criticized the move as an “unacceptable censorship system.”

Critics often accuse heavily regulated city-states of restricting media freedom, and online citizenship (TOC) has long been a government goal.

As one of the few alternative news sources in Singapore, it often publishes reports that are more critical of the authorities than the pro-government mainstream media.

The city-state’s media regulator said it has suspended the company’s license to operate its website and social media channels because it has not fully fulfilled its obligation to declare funds.

The Information and Communication Media Development Authority stated in a statement that websites such as TOC “must be transparent about the source of their funds.”

“This is to prevent such sites from being controlled by foreign participants or being affected by foreign entities or funds.”

TOC was ordered to disable its website and social media accounts by Thursday. The regulator warned that if it fails to provide enough further information, its operating license may be completely cancelled.

But the editor-in-chief Xu Zhimo told AFP that the site “never accepted any foreign funds and will not in the future” and the company is considering its options.

Earlier this month, Xu and a TOC writer were ordered to pay huge compensation after losing a defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia, said that the suspension of the license is a “heinous and unacceptable censorship system disguised as a government regulatory action.”

“The reality is that the Singapore government has been seeking to shut down the TOC through deception because they don’t like their independence or critical reporting at all.”

In the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, Singapore ranks 160th among 180 countries and regions, and the country with the highest degree of media freedom is ranked first.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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