Yahoo Singapore indicates that it will abide by the new MDA licensing scheme

Yahoo broke its silence on Wednesday on the new MDA licensing scheme, indicating that it will abide by the rules even if it considers them "redundant".

Yahoo Singapore country manager Alan Soon said in a post on its website that the changes will help pave the way for full accreditation and access for his reporters.

"We will be a stronger editorial team and our stories will improve because of that," he added.

Unlike reporters from mainstream media, Yahoo reporters are not accredited by the Ministry of Communications and Information, and are not given access to government press conferences.

Yahoo is the only site out of the list of 10 identified for licensing by the MDA that is not run by a traditional media outlet. Of the rest, seven are owned by Singapore Press Holdings and two by Mediacorp.

Mr Soon added yesterday that since it already had to comply with the Media Development Authority's Internet Code of Practice, further regulation as "redundant".

"And as the past few days have shown, it (the new licence) creates confusion and unsettles both users, as well as the media industry that Singapore has tried so hard to cultivate," he said.

The Government has said that the ruling is to give parity to the frameworks governing traditional and online news sources, and make clear that the license-holder must remove prohibited content such as pornography within 24 hours once notified.

Mr Soon also stressed that Yahoo is committed to helping protect and promote free expression, and it was important that regulation does not restrict genuine debate.

"We need to preserve this fine balance and Yahoo continues to champion this critical aspect of Internet freedom."