Singapore to individually license websites, require a $50K bond against bad taste

A reader writes, "The Singapore government just announced an intention to begin regulating websites that report on the country, requiring a S$50,000 'performance bond' and compliance with any takedown notices from the government within 24 hours. The reason for this is apparently to regulate content which solicits for prostitution, undermines racial and religious harmony, or 'goes against good taste'. Seems legit."

Dr Yaacob said: "It's about making sure that our regulatory framework is consistent -- that's the most important thing. At the moment, whether we like it or not, Singaporeans are receiving news both from mainstream media and online sites.

"Our mainstream media are subjected to rules, you know... Why shouldn't the online media be part of that regulatory framework?

"I don't see this as a clamping down, if anything, it is regularising what is already happening on the Internet and (making sure) that they are on par with our mainstream media."

The regulation will extend to foreign-hosted sites that report on Singapore, though it's not clear what the Singaporean government will do if, for example, the New York Times declines to obey.

News websites to be individually licensed [Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid/Channel News Asia]