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More clarity on MDA licensing scheme needed

I refer to the Media Development Authority’s (MDA) new licensing regime for online news sites (“Fears over new licensing rules ‘will prove unfounded’”, June 1). The rationale is unconvincing and the manner in which it has been implemented only raises questions.

I refer to the Media Development Authority’s (MDA) new licensing regime for online news sites (“Fears over new licensing rules ‘will prove unfounded’”, June 1). The rationale is unconvincing and the manner in which it has been implemented only raises questions.

The MDA has said it found it necessary to request a take-down only once in the past two years, and this was complied with.

This shows, first and foremost, websites do behave responsibly. The public and netizens have also exerted pressure on people who post content irresponsibly. There are also ample laws to deal with public security and advocates of violence, racism and religious extremism.

It was also reported that The Online Citizen had cited internal data that its online reach fulfils the MDA’s licensing criteria, but the website was not included in the framework. There should be more clarity on how the criteria were applied.

It is not surprising that the new rule has generated considerable angst and suspicion within the online community.

There are good reasons to rethink this framework and to put it right. Let us live up to our developed country status by implementing laws and regulations that are clear and unambiguous in their intent.

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