The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has cancelled the class licence of The Online Citizen (TOC) after it "repeatedly refused to comply" with its licence conditions as a registered Internet Content Provider (ICP).
Required to be transparent about their sources of funding
In a news release on Friday (Oct. 15), IMDA said registered ICPs, such as TOC, which engage in the online promotion or discussion of political issues relating to Singapore, are required to be "transparent about their sources of funding".
This is to prevent such ICPs from being controlled by foreign actors, or coming under the influence of foreign entities or funding.
It is also required to ensure that there is no foreign influence in domestic politics, IMDA stated.
TOC failed to comply despite multiple reminders
According to IMDA, TOC failed to comply with the requirement to make an annual declaration of its funding sources in respect of TOC’s 2020 Undertaking and Statutory Declaration.
This was despite multiple reminders and extensions of time granted by IMDA.
Hence, IMDA suspended TOC’s class licence on Sep. 14, 2021, and gave TOC a final deadline of Sep. 28, 2021 to submit the required information.
Still not submitted as at Oct. 14, 2021
As at Oct. 14, 2021, IMDA said TOC has still not submitted the required information.
TOC has also publicly stated that it will not be providing the required information.
IMDA added in its statement:
"TOC’s clear and persistent refusal to be transparent and to provide the necessary information to bring it into full compliance with the Broadcasting Act and the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification compels IMDA to proceed with cancellation of TOC’s class licence with immediate effect."
"It is an offence for TOC to operate any licensable broadcasting services, including any new licensable broadcasting services, without a licence."
Top image via TOC/FB.