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In 1996 the Singapore government's Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) began monitoring Internet activity and content.Under their guidelines, all ISPs are licensed by the SBA and therefore are subject to the Internet Code of Practice that outlined prohibited online material.Prohibited material was any content or activity that could be seen as "objectionable on the grounds of public interest, public morality, public order, public security, national harmony, or is otherwise prohibited by applicable Singapore laws." The early to mid-2000s saw the rising popularity of satire websites such as Talking and blogs like Yawning Bread and mrbrown, which offered alternative perspectives on socio-political issues from government-friendly mainstream media.In July 2006, mrbrown's weekly column in newspaper Today was terminated after he highlighted the immediate price hikes after the 2006 Singapore general elections.Under the new law it is an offence, punishable by jail terms and fines, for people to place bets on overseas gambling websites from Singapore.Advertisements for gambling websites are also outlawed.
He was charged again for contempt of court for several cartoons questioning Singapore courts for their differential treatment, based on status of nationality and political affiliation of the defendants.In July 2001, Dr Tan Chong Kee, the founder of Sintercom, was asked to register the website under the nascent Singapore Broadcast Authority Act (now Media Development Authority).Dr Tan chose to shut down Sintercom due to concerns over the ambiguity of the Act.When trying to access a blocked site, visitors are usually greeted by an IMDA or error message depending on the individual ISP and web filtering service.The MDA message is only applicable to public places and office buildings.
Sites which satisfy the criteria must also put up a performance bond of $50,000, and are expected to remove content that is perceived by the MDA to be against the public interest, public security, or national harmony within 24 hours.