The Online Citizen (TOC) is a regional online publication based in Taiwan and formerly Singapore’s longest-running independent online media platform.
Our aim is to examine the issues that matter, or should matter, to citizens in democratic countries and to reflect the diversity of life, of ideas and opinions of individuals, regardless of race, language or religion.
We believe that our future is best served by having an informed and involved citizenry that has access to a wide range of sources of news and views and an open and vibrant environment in which to share and to debate ideas and opinions.
The Online Citizen was set up in Singapore back in 2006 to provide readers with alternative perspectives and to cover stories ignored or under-reported by traditional media.
In 2020, TOC was renamed to The Online Citizen Asia, following a shift in its coverage from solely Singapore to the greater region in Asia. However, it retained the abbreviation of TOC to reflect its legacy.
In September 2021, TOC was made to cease operations after its class license in Singapore was suspended by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
In 2022, the operating rights of TOC were transferred to Miao Yi Infotech Ltd, which is based in Taiwan.
On 21 July 2023, the Ministry of Communication and Information of Singapore issued a declaration under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to label the TOC website, its Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and Facebook page as Declared Online Locations (DOLs) from 22 July 2023 until 21 July 2025.
As a result of the declaration, it would be an offence for anyone to benefit financially from operating the DOLs and contribute financially to them.
Therefore, TOC will be removing all ads from its website and cancelling the existing subscription framework. However, it should be noted that TOC’s YouTube and Instagram are not part of the DOLs.
As of 22 July 2023, the TOC website and social media platforms will only be handled by Terry Xu as the sole operator and by ad-hoc unpaid volunteers when the situation arises, as there is no financial support for the platforms.
Our existing staff will transition to a new publication focusing on news from Greater Asia, while TOC will refocus on its primary subject, Singapore, hence dropping the Asia subtext.