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Singapore's Online News Control Worries U.S. Authorities

The State Department is "deeply concerned" about Singapore's plans to strictly license online news sites reporting on local events.

Singaporean authorities recently implemented their plans to strictly regulate online news in the city-state, demanding that all local news sites that get over 50,000 unique visitors per month and report at least one Singapore-related article a week apply for a license. Applicants also have to pay a licensing fee. The State Department has now weighed in, saying the process is "restrictive" and may suppress free speech and the expression of dissenting opinions online.

Singapore's Communications and Information Minister has just defended the plans, TheNextWeb notes, by arguing they're all about holding online publications to a higher accuracy standard because they're reporting news for Singaporeans. Meanwhile a self-regulation process for all U.K. publications, online or off, is reportedly in stalemate with the industry and politicians unable to decide on a mechanism. British publications, and U.S. ones too, were rocked in recent years by allegations of widespread criminal activity like phone hacking. American journalists have pressed the British government to drop the plans.

[Image: By Flickr user jjcb]