Mothership's press accreditation suspended until Aug 18 for breaking Budget embargo

The accreditation was suspended after Mothership broke an embargo on the Budget on Feb 18. PHOTOS: MOTHERSHIP, LAWRENCE WONG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The press accreditation for local media outlet Mothership will be suspended for six months, until Aug 18, after it broke an embargo on the Budget on Feb 18.

In response to queries from The Straits Times (ST), the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said on Thursday (March 24) that had broken the embargo on details of the staggered goods and services tax (GST) increases.

MCI decided on the length of the suspension after reviewing an appeal by Mothership.

MCI said: "Given the seriousness of the breach, which involved information that is highly market sensitive and prejudicial to national interest, MCI has reviewed the appeal and decided to suspend Mothership's press accreditation for a total of six months."

This means that Mothership's representatives will not be able to attend briefings and press conferences by government agencies.

ST understands that in February, Mothership released an infographic with details of the GST hike before Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced this during his Budget speech.

On Thursday, Mothership's managing editor Martino Tan said the media outlet accepts that the temporary suspension of its press accreditation was necessary, given the nature of the breach.

He added: "We will use this period before the reinstatement to strengthen our internal processes and implement the necessary remedial actions.

"This incident, while regrettable, is an important reminder to us of the standards required of a professional and credible media operation."

Mr Tan had said in February that the breaking of the embargo was a genuine mistake made by prematurely publishing an infographic on Mothership's Facebook page.

He had said that the media outlet identified the mistake in under two minutes and immediately deleted the post. The staff involved were also suspended for two weeks, he added.

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