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Reading “the right thing” under wrong circumstances

By Cheryl Marie Tay And so, as many of us had probably already expected, the MDA’s plan to “regulate” online news sites has come to pass. Today is the day, and it appears there’s not much we can do about it. For all the talk of a “light touch”, as well as all the fuss over the much-hyped National Conversation, the nasty surprise sure hit many journalists like a ton of bricks. But why is there so much apprehension and disapproval from not just journalists and editors but also the rest of the general public? Between the Lines Let’s look at what the new licensing rule entails. Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, said: “Given the evolving landscape, it’s important to give some form of parity between online news sites and traditional mainstream media newspapers and TV broadcasters.” This all sounds well and good — until one assesses exactly what “traditional mainstream media newspapers and TV broadcasters” are in Singapore. We have only one such paper (not counting The New Paper, of course), The Straits Times. We have only one such broadcaster, Channel NewsAsia. There are no other publications or TV stations in the country to compete or compare…