Media authority tells local website to register, not accept foreign funding

A new local news and current affairs website called The Independent, due to launch on Aug 9, has been asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification. It has agreed to comply. -- SCREENGR
A new local news and current affairs website called The Independent, due to launch on Aug 9, has been asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification. It has agreed to comply. -- SCREENGRAB: THEINDEPENDENT.SG

A new local news and current affairs website called The Independent, due to launch on Aug 9, has been asked by the Media Development Authority (MDA) to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification. It has agreed to comply.

Political websites registered under this legislation are not allowed to receive foreign funding. In a statement released Monday, the MDA said that the Government has "received specific information which gives it cause for concern over foreign interest to fund The Independent". It did not elaborate.

The Independent, which will be officially launched on Aug 9, has been online since May and describes itself as a site that covers current affairs, economics and politics in Singapore. Among its founders are former The Online Citizen editor Kumaran Pillai, and former Today editor PN Balji. It is owned by local company Protegesoft, whose director is Mr Pillai. The founders said they would release a statement shortly.

The MDA added that The Independent's registration would "not in any way" affect what it can publish. "However, it will prevent The Independent from being controlled by, or coming under the influence of, foreign entities or funding, and ensure that Singapore politics remain a matter for Singaporeans alone," it said.