[UPDATE on Thursday, 30 July 2015, 3:50pm: The Middle Ground and Mothership.sg will comply with MDA's request. The article has been updated, upon MDA clarification, to reflect that Mothership.sg does not need to "register" but that it has been moved to to the individual licensing framework.]
Two sociopolitical sites, earlier notified by the the Media Development Authority (MDA) that they are required to be specifically licensed under the Broadcasting Act, will comply.
They are The Middle Ground (TMG), co-founded by ex-journalist Bertha Henson, and Mothership.sg, which is backed by a social enterprise known as Project Fisher-Men.
On The Middle Ground, which has been asked to register under the Class License in Section 9, a spokesperson for MDA reportedly said, "As part of the registration, MDA requires that TMG Pte Ltd undertake not to receive foreign funding for the provision, management and/or operation of the TMG website.
"This ensures that foreign entities do not engage in Singapore’s domestic politics, or control or manipulate our local media platforms."
Henson, in a Facebook posting, said TMG will comply. "And here we go again... I have to register The Middle Ground, says MDA. Only one month in operation and got 'invitation' already... 2 week deadline. And yes, we'll register," she said.
Previously, she had shut Breakfast Network (BN) when its parent company was asked, in December 2013, to register under the Class Licence scheme.
Mothership.sg, in a statement sent to Yahoo Singapore on Thursday afternoon, said it will comply with MDA's requirement that its licensing be moved under Section 8 of the Broadcasting Act. Mothership.sg is already registered under Section 9.
Managing Editor Martino Tan said, "Part of the licensing requirement is the posting of a $50,000 performance bond. One of the considerations we had as we were mulling over the decision if we should comply was that $50,000 is a big sum of money for a small team like ours.
"But if $50,000, like an election deposit, is the price to pay for us to continue to serve our community, we shall accede to MDA’s request to register under Section 8 of the Broadcasting Act."
Earlier, Mothership.sg had revealed, in another statement, that MDA had "called for a meeting with two representatives from Mothership.sg on 16 July 2015".
"At this meeting, MDA informed that Mothership.sg has met its threshold that requires a website to be licensed under Section 8 of the Broadcasting Act," it said.
Sites that report an average of at least one article per week on Singapore’s news and current affairs over a period of two months, and are visited by at least 50,000 unique IP addresses from Singapore each month over a period of two months may be notified by the MDA that they require an individual licence (Section 8).
Currently, 10 sites belonging to Singapore Press Holdings, MediaCorp and Yahoo are individually licensed.