Singapore's Media Development Authority responds to MURUAH's statement published on 29th November. (MURUAH's statement)
1. We refer to Maruah’s statement of 29 Nov published in The Independent.
2. The registration of The Independent and The Breakfast Network under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification upholds the firmly-established principle that foreign entities may not engage in Singapore politics or be allowed to control or worse, manipulate our local media platforms, which are prime vehicles for political influence.
3. The registration does not in any way, seek to affect what The Independent and Breakfast Network can publish on their site. Maruah would know very well that despite being registered by MDA, they have had the freedom to comment freely on a range of issues and Government policies. There has been no instance when they have been told to take down any comments or articles on their website.
4. While it is convenient to blame MDA’s registration requirement for causing online commercial enterprises to be unviable, it is also true that many online sites struggle to be commercially viable in the first place. That is why the registration requirement does not seek to prevent The Independent and The Breakfast Network from receiving bona fide commercial revenue, foreign advertisers included. As part of the registration, we also do not require The Independent and The Breakfast Network to provide detailed information of their subscriber base, as alleged by Maruah in their 29 Nov statement.
TOC contacted The Independent and understands that they do not have to provide detailed information of their subscriber base but of a lump sum figure.