SINGAPORE: The Online Citizen, whose website and some of its social media accounts were deactivated about two weeks ago, said on Tuesday (Sep 28) that it will not be submitting further information to the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Responding to CNA’s queries, TOC’s chief editor Terry Xu said: “We would also like to reiterate that TOC has never received any foreign funding.
“IMDA’s invalidation of TOC’s subscription model in 2019 which has been in existence since 2014 is nothing but harassment against TOC and intimidation of TOC’s subscribers.”
On Sep 14, IMDA suspended the alternative news providers’ licence and ordered it to stop posting on its website and social media accounts, for failing to declare all its funding sources.
IMDA had set a deadline until Sep 28 for TOC to provide further information to fully comply with the Broadcasting Act. Failing to do so, its licence may be cancelled.
Under Section 12 of the Broadcasting Act, IMDA can cancel or suspend the licence of a broadcasting licensee if it is found to have contravened any conditions of its licence. A fine may also be imposed.
On Sep 7, IMDA said it had asked the website to “explain its non-compliance” after it “repeatedly failed” to declare all its funding sources.
According to IMDA, registered Internet content providers, such as TOC, which engage in the promotion or discussion of political issues relating to Singapore online, are “required to be transparent” about their sources of funding. This is to prevent foreign influence in domestic politics.
TOC earlier said it has filed a judicial review against IMDA’s order to suspend its operation of the social media platforms, with Mr Xu saying they were were not part of the declaration that it signed with IMDA.
CNA has reached out to IMDA for more information.