New social political website, The Middle Ground has been asked to register with the Media Development Authority (MDA), said the website’s consulting editor, Bertha Henson on her Facebook page.
The Middle Ground, which started in 15 June 2015, was essentially a relaunch of Henson’s earlier project, Breakfast Network.
Henson had opted to close down Breakfast Network when the owners were asked to register with MDA in December 2013, citing that the registration requirements were too onerous.
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.
This time round, however, Henson’s team seems more prepared.
“Only one month in operation and got “invitation” already… Two week deadline. And yes, we’ll register,” she posted.
In an earlier interview with TOC, the website’s publisher Daniel Yap alluded that the new team was ready to meet this as an eventuality.
“This time around, we have a stronger financial footing with investors behind us and it is part of the business plan to take on the risk if and when MDA does require us to,” said Yap.
The Middle Ground seeks to offer news and content to those who consider themselves to be in the “middle ground”. Recently, it has also published articles in relation to the pending general elections and other social issues.
The MDA had earlier sought to register other news websites, including The Independent and TOC Ltd, the parent company of TOC. Both have complied to the requirements, similarly citing the onerous requirements in accounting and MDA’s unnecessary concern with foreign funding.