Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

MDA, Breakfast Network continue to cross swords

SINGAPORE — The exchange of words between the Media Development Authority (MDA) and socio-political commentary website Breakfast Network — which was last week informed by the MDA to cease its “online service” as it has opted not to register for a Class Licence — continued yesterday, as the team behind the site announced that it would continue to operate on Facebook and Twitter.

Screenshot of Breakfast Network website

Screenshot of Breakfast Network website

SINGAPORE — The exchange of words between the Media Development Authority (MDA) and socio-political commentary website Breakfast Network — which was last week informed by the MDA to cease its “online service” as it has opted not to register for a Class Licence — continued yesterday, as the team behind the site announced that it would continue to operate on Facebook and Twitter.

In a note posted on its Facebook page, the team said it informed the MDA yesterday that its founder and Editor Bertha Henson has applied to wind up Breakfast Network Private Limited (BNPL), which was set up by Ms Henson in October, since its status as a corporate entity “appears to be the main sticking point with the Media Development Authority”. Proof that the winding-up process has begun will be provided, the team said.

It also said it had no intention of breaking the law. “In our opinion, the proceedings have been farcical. It seems that MDA had expected BNPL to register and was caught off-balance when the company decided not to. Hence, the curiously vague nature of its replies,” it added.

This statement drew a strong rebuttal from the MDA, which responded late last night: “Ms Henson alleged that MDA’s replies to her had been vague. We object to this. The MDA has been precise in advising Ms Henson on the registration requirements of Breakfast Network Pte Ltd (BNPL) and it is for her to then decide how she wants to proceed with her business.”

An MDA spokesperson said the authority had informed Ms Henson that should she decide not to register with the MDA, BNPL would have to cease its online service.

“This is precisely what Ms Henson has gone on to do. We fail to see where we have been vague in this instance,” she said.

The spokesperson also said that “Ms Henson herself has been vague”. “She has not clearly indicated to us who would own and run the various online iterations of Breakfast Network, when these services cease to exist under the corporate entity, BNPL. We can only advise her when she has clarity herself on the next steps.”

The MDA also said Ms Henson had made the decision to shut down the Breakfast Network website before they could respond to her Dec 7 email seeking clarity on complying with rules. “This was after MDA explicitly informed her on Dec 6 that the deadline for registration has been extended to Dec 17,” the spokesperson said.

“MDA has sought to address Breakfast Network’s queries and provide it the full information to arrive at a decision. Whatever may be its reasons for not registering, it is unconvincing for it to attribute it to MDA’s actions — not when another site similarly asked to register has chosen to submit the registration forms,” she added, referring to The Independent.

The Breakfast Network team noted that it was unclear whether dissolving BNPL would mean it can continue to operate its Facebook page or Twitter feed under the Breakfast Network name, or even resurrect the main site. BNPL “had no hand in the setting up of the Facebook page or Twitter accounts, both of which were set up long before BNPL was incorporated or even conceived of”, it added. MDA did not address this issue in its press statement.

The exchange between MDA and the Breakfast Network over its online status began last month, when the authority asked the site to register under its class licensing rules by Dec 10. The deadline was extended to today at the site’s request.

Ms Henson announced on Dec 9 that she would shut down the site instead of registering with MDA, citing the onerous registration process as a reason.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.