MDA asks website mothership.sg to register under Broadcasting Act

Social news website Mothership.sg has become the latest to be asked by the Media Development Authority to register for a licence which requires it not to receive foreign funding. -- PHOTO: MOTHERSHIP.SG SCREEN CAPTURE
Social news website Mothership.sg has become the latest to be asked by the Media Development Authority to register for a licence which requires it not to receive foreign funding. -- PHOTO: MOTHERSHIP.SG SCREEN CAPTURE

Social news website Mothership.sg has become the latest to be asked by the Media Development Authority to register with it, which prohibits it from receiving foreign funding.

Mothership has four full-time staff, counts former foreign minister George Yeo as a contributor, and is backed by a social enterprise known as Project Fisher-Men, which is chaired by civil service veteran Philip Yeo.

In a statement on Thursday, the Media Development Authority (MDA) said it had notified Project Fisher-Men on March 27, to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification, which was enacted under Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act.

The MDA said it had assessed that the website meets the registration criteria and it must register by April 11.

This is as it promotes or discusses political issues relating to Singapore, and is "structured as a corporate entity which is deemed to be more susceptible to coming under foreign influence through foreign funding".

It added that the registration will not in any way affect what mothership.sg can publish on its site.

Other websites that have been asked by MDA to register are Breakfast Network and The Independent.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mothership's team said it is "mulling" its next steps.

"Registering is not as scary as it sounds because The Independent Singapore and Breakfast Network were previously asked to do the same," it said, referring to two sites that were asked by the MDA to register last year.

"If we comply and register, we will go the way of The Independent Singapore, who are still around, writing and publishing. If we don't comply, we will go the way of Breakfast Network, which is now defunct."

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