The IMDA announced in a press release on 15 October 2021 that it has cancelled The Online Citizen Pte Ltd’s (TOC) class licence as it had repeatedly refused to comply with its licence conditions as a registered Internet Content Provider (ICP).
As a registered ICP, TOC is required to be transparent about its sources of funding.
TOC regularly engages in the online promotion or discussion of political issues relating to Singapore.
It is, therefore, necessary for TOC to be transparent in their funding sources to ensure that there is no foreign influence in domestic politics.
The requirement to be transparent about funding sources will reveal if it is being controlled by foreign actors, or whether it has come under the influence of foreign entities or funding.
It’s puzzling why TOC insisted on hiding the identities of those who funded it.
Despite multiple reminders, including extensions of time were granted by IMDA, TOC failed to comply with the requirement to make an annual declaration of its funding sources for 2020.
The IMDA first suspended TOC’s class licence on 14 September 2021 and gave TOC a final deadline of 28 September 2021 to submit the required information.
As of 14 October 2021, TOC has still not submitted the required information. Not only that, but TOC has also publicly stated that it will not be providing the required information.
“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 the cancellation of TOC’s class licence with immediate effect,” said IMDA in its press release.
“It is an offence for TOC to operate any licensable broadcasting services, including any new licensable broadcasting services, without a licence.”
Will Terry Xu plays the victim card after this? Complying with the requirements of the Broadcasting Act is not difficult at all unless there is something to hide.
So the questions are: what is Terry Xu hiding? Or which entity/entities is he protecting?