A website reporting “independent Singapore news” has allegedly been banned in Singapore, according to its owner.
Singapore Herald, a website that started after another independent news platform, the States Times Review, was shut down, was inaccessible after Coconuts Singapore made attempts to access the site on Saturday.
The site was unable to load on a web browser, with the error being attributed to an “SSL protocol error.”
In a Facebook post Saturday morning on the shuttered States Times Review’s still-active Facebook page, the page’s administrator said the Singapore Herald website was allegedly “blocked by the Singapore government” because of “articles painting the authorities in a negative light”.
According to Singapore Herald, at the crux of the ban are eight articles written by the site’s writers that the site claims are in contention by Singapore’s Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA).
In another Facebook post, the page claimed that IMDA’s contention with the articles were that they “misrepresented the People’s Action Party (PAP) ministers and their position”.
The articles had allegedly touched on multiple aspects of the maritime dispute between Singapore and Malaysia, including allegations that the Singapore government was threatening to use military actions over the dispute.
Singapore Herald’s Facebook page said that the IMDA had reportedly asked the website to take down the posts, but it has since not complied with the rule.
“Following an internal review, the alleged offending articles are factual and accurately painted the actual state of affairs,” stated the Facebook post by Singapore Herald.
“Singapore Herald will require a court order, and arbitrary orders by any government agency will not be complied,” the post also stated, noting that the website will continue publication as usual.
Previously, another alternative news website called States Times Review was also caught in hot soup after editor Alex Tan refused to remove an article linking Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with 1Malaysia Development Berhad discussions.
Tan was reportedly involved in helping to set up Singapore Herald for another editor based in Toronto, but details about the Singapore Herald editor are unknown.
Coconuts Singapore has reached out to IMDA to obtain additional information to verify the allegations.
Editor’s note: Added background to the story