By Terry Xu
“Kitchen Closed”, says the sign that is hung at the door of the local kitchen much to the disappointment of many diners.
Breakfast Network (BN), a local news commentary platform which was just opened eight months ago has announced its decision on Monday night to put up the “Closed” sign after much deliberation over the filling of the C1 forms from the Media Development Authority (MDA).
They were requested by the MDA to fill up the forms which is required under the class license act by Dec 10, Tuesday.
Both Independent SG and Breakfast Network have expressed that the revised C1 forms is onerous upon the registering party as one would assume the burden to ensure that funds will not directly nor indirectly come from foreign sources, though eventually Independent SG still choose to register with MDA.
Chief Editor Bertha Henson said in her last blog post in Breakfast Network website,
Lawyers and business people who have seen the registration forms describe them as “onerous’’. We could declare that all revenue came through bona fide commercial transactions, but we would probably need to produce some kind of proof if queried. Does that make it a kind of compliance checklist to ensure we have done due diligence? BN is not even steady on its feet to start thinking about putting in such administrative structures.
Apart from the burden to prove that one does not receive foreign funding, the new forms also require the site to register names of contributors instead of just the editors like what TOC is requested to submit.
Many bloggers have expressed their dismay at how Breakfast Network is being asked to shut down via red tapes implemented by the administration.
Cherian George wrote in a post,
Technically, it is not the first time that a site has hit its own kill switch. Sintercom, Singapore’s first online magazine (it would have been called a blog, except that the word had not been invented yet), decided to close down when the government asked it to register in 2001. But that registration process was far simpler, and it never reached the stage where the regulator demanded that it cease operations.
MARUAH had earlier released a statement to voice their concern that such actions by MDA might stifle civil discourse within the country and compromising the freedom of speech. MDA made a response to their statement saying, “The registration does not in any way, seek to affect what The Independent and Breakfast Network can publish on their site.”
BN said in their facebook status update on Wednesday that they have asked MDA to elaborate on its statement released in regards to BN’s decision to not submit the form and what it meant by asking Breakfast Network to “cease its online service”.