Local socio-political site the Mothership.sg has been notified by the MDA that it has met the criteria for an individual licence and will be moved to an individual licensing framework.
Under the licensing regulations, the site’s editors will need to comply with MDA’s regulations should articles need to be pulled down due to sensitives.
In a statement to Marketing, an MDA spokesperson has said that Mothership.sg has acknowledged MDA’s notification to be individually licensed. She also added that the publication needs to be individually licensed as it has met the reach and frequency criteria of the online news licensing framework, which is stated in the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.
Currently, under this framework, an online news website is to be individually licensed if it is accessed from at least 50,000 different IP addresses in Singapore per month on average, over any period of two consecutive months. Another criteria to come under the act is if the website contains one or more Singapore news programme per week on average, over the same period of two consecutive month.
The MDA spokesperson also added that currently there are no other websites identified for individual licensing.
Mothership.sg has told Marketing that it will comply with the regulation so that "readers can continue to have highly clickable and shareable content to consume and disseminate on social media for the betterment of Singapore."
According to a statement on its site, the publication said one of the considerations it had as it mulled over the decision was that SG$50,000 was a big sum of money for a small team such as the one it had.
"But if SG$50,000, like an election deposit, is the price to pay for us to continue to serve our community, we shall accede to MDA’s request to register under Section 8 of the Broadcasting Act and will comply with the laws of the land. We are officially the 11th website to be individually licensed in Singapore," it added.
Since its launch in February 2014, the site now has more than 1.2 million readers in Singapore consume and share its content every month and our community continues to grow.
MDA first introduced the rule in 2013. Registration requires the identity of the persons behind the website to be declared and allows MDA to extract undertakings from the registrant. News websites covering Singapore news and with reach above a certain level are required to be individually-licensed under the Broadcasting Act. MDA also claims that the individual licence places a stronger onus on online news websites that have a significant reach and hence high impact on Singaporeans.