MDA asks The Middle Ground website to register under class licensing scheme

The MDA will give the site two weeks to complete the registration form.
The MDA will give the site two weeks to complete the registration form. SCREENGRAB: THEMIDDLEGROUND.SG

SINGAPORE - The Media Development Authority on Wednesday (July 29) asked sociopolitical site The Middle Ground to register under the class licensing scheme.

An MDA spokesman said that the registration will not affect what The Middle Ground may publish on its website, as is the case with other registered sites such as The Online Citizen and The Independent.

The registration also does not entail changes to the content standards as set out in the Internet Code of Practice, added the spokesman.

She said that the media regulator on Wednesday told The Middle Ground Pte Ltd, the corporate entity behind The Middle Ground and an existing class licensee, to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.

Under the class licensing scheme, which comes under the Broadcasting Act, sites required to register with the MDA include those which promote or discuss political or religious issues relating to Singapore, and those of registered political parties.

The spokesman said that MDA is registering The Middle Ground Pte Ltd as it is an Internet content provider engaged in the propagation, promotion and/or discussion of political issues relating to Singapore.

"As part of the registration, MDA requires that The Middle Ground Pte Ltd undertake not to receive foreign funding for the provision, management and/or operation of the TMG website. This ensures that foreign entities do not engage in Singapore's domestic politics, or control or manipulate our local media platforms," she said.

The MDA will give The Middle Ground Pte Ltd two weeks to complete the registration form, she added.

When contacted, site co-founder Bertha Henson told The Straits Times that she would be receiving the registration papers from the MDA on Thursday and would make comments online after that.

She also wrote on her Facebook page that the one-month-old site will be registering.

Last year, Ms Henson chose not to register her former site The Breakfast Network with the MDA, and the sociopolitical site had to close as a result.