Views published on blogs not news reporting: Media Development Authority

An individual publishing views on current affairs and trends on his personal website or blog does not amount to news reporting, the Media Development Authority said in a post on their Facebook page on Friday.

"The licensing framework only applies to sites that focus on reporting Singapore news and are notified by MDA that they meet the licensing criteria," the media regulator added, in the wake of concerns that bloggers may fall under a licensing framework for news sites announced on Tuesday.

The regulations are not an attempt to influence the editorial slant of news sites, the MDA added. Some in the online community have come out strongly to criticise the new ruling, and say it is a means to rein them in.

From tomorrow, news sites with significant reach and which report on Singapore regularly must be individually licensed. Currently, most websites automatically fall under a class license scheme.

The new framework makes clear that license-holders must remove content that is deemed objectionable within 24 hours, if notified to do so.

They must also post a $50,000 performance bond. Ten sites are on the list of those who have been formally notified by the MDA. They include seven run by the Singapore Press Holdings.

The MDA statement added that it would only step in when complaints are raised to their attention, and the content is assessed to be in breach of guidelines and merits action.

"Takedown requests are not common. In the past two years, MDA has only issued one take-down notice for the "Innocence of Muslims" video," it added.