Taken from Channel News Asia
The government has notified the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) that it will have to comply with conditions required of offshore newspapers under Section 23 (3) of the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act.
From September 11 this year, FEER will have to appoint a legal representative in Singapore to deal with any lawsuits that may arise against the publisher.
It will also have to post a security deposit of S$200,000.
But there will be no change to FEER's current circulation cap of 10,000 copies.
This change is to correct an anomaly for FEER, which currently does not have to comply with conditions for offshore newspapers.
It follows the FEER's move from a weekly to a monthly publication in 2004.
But FEER is still a declared foreign newspaper, defined as one engaging in the domestic politics of Singapore.
K Bhavani, Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, says it was an administrative oversight not to have subjected the news magazine to the same conditions required for declared foreign newspapers.
She adds that the conditions for offshore newspapers are not something new.
Several offshore newspapers have already posted the security bond and appointed representatives in Singapore.
The FEER was gazetted as a declared foreign newspaper on 26 December 1987 for interfering in the domestic politics of Singapore.
Subsequently, the FEER was also classified as an offshore newspaper following the amendment to the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act on 30 August 1990, and was subjected to the conditions under the Act.
The government has also reviewed the exempt status of offshore newspapers circulating in Singapore as a result of changes in the media scene.
It has notified four publications - the International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Newsweek and TIME - that the exemption granted to them will be lifted when their current permits expire.
This means they will then have to appoint a legal representative in Singapore and post a bond of S$200,000.
The government says these publications now regularly report on political issues in the region and Singapore, and have significant circulations here.
Since 1990, some offshore newspapers were exempted from certain provisions under the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act before they were permitted to circulate in Singapore.
But the Minister may allow declared foreign newspapers, defined as those engaging in the domestic politics of Singapore, to continue circulation in the country.
This approval may also be granted subject to conditions.
The Ministry of Communications, Information and the Arts says the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act serves to reinforce the government's consistent position that it is a privilege and not a right for foreign newspapers to circulate in Singapore.
It adds that they do so as foreign observers of the local scene and should not interfere in the domestic politics of Singapore. - CNA/ch