13 December 2013 - MDA had required www.breakfastnetwork.sg, operated by Breakfast Network Pte Ltd, to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification… Read more

MDA had required www.breakfastnetwork.sg, operated by Breakfast Network Pte Ltd, to register under the Broadc​​asting (Class Licence) Notification, as we had assessed that as a corporate entity providing political commentary and news, they could be susceptible to foreign funding.

MDA met Ms Bertha Henson on 26 November, where we informed her that MDA required Breakfast Network to register. On 29 November, Ms Henson asked MDA about the possibility of making changes to the form, to which MDA replied that the forms were final.

On 3 December 2013, Ms Henson sent MDA a list of 9 questions concerning the registration forms. Ms Henson also requested for an extension of 10 December deadline by a month.

On 6 December, MDA replied to her 9 questions and also extended the deadline to 17 December. To address her concern about the effort required to fill up the registration forms, MDA also indicated that she could suggest alternative ways in which she could provide the required information. However, on 7 December, Ms Henson informed MDA that the Breakfast Network will not register and that it will shut down its website.

Bertha Henson’s 10 December Facebook post indicated that MDA required the site’s volunteer contributors to be named. This was picked up in various news reports. This is false. MDA had replied to Ms Henson on 6 December that pro-bono editorial team members should be listed in the form if they are responsible for and/or involved in the provision, management and/or operation of the website. At no point did MDA state that volunteer contributors need to be listed.

As the company has decided not to proceed with the registration, which means that it will not be making the necessary declarations that it will not receive foreign funding, MDA has informed Breakfast Network Pte Ltd that the company should cease to operate its online services.

MDA would like to reiterate that the content is not the issue. Rather, it is the mode of operation, i.e. via a corporate entity which means there is greater possibility for foreign influence. Should Breakfast Network Pte Ltd remain active as a company, it must not operate any iteration of www.breakfastnetwork.sg on other Internet platforms as doing so would contravene MDA’s registration requirements. These other Internet platforms include Breakfast Network’s Facebook page and Twitter Feed.

MDA’s registration requirement seeks to uphold the principle that politics must remain a matter for Singapore and Singaporeans alone. This principle is not new and it has been a long standing one. There is no departure from our Internet regulatory framework.​

About Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (www​.mda.gov.sg) promotes the growth of globally competitive film, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation and interactive digital media industries. It also regulates the media sector to safeguard the interests of consumers, and promotes a connected society. MDA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Communications and Information (www.mci.gov.sg​).​

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023