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Singapore news websites to require licenses; seen as some as a bid to control the Internet

Singapore's government says a new policy will require online news websites to be licensed, a move that is being criticized as a form of censorship in a country where the media is already strictly controlled.

The city-state's Media Development Authority said Tuesday that the policy, which takes effect Saturday, will require websites that report regularly on Singapore news and have at least 50,000 visitors a month to obtain annual licenses. They also will be required to remove content found to be in breach of MDA standards within 24 hours of notification.

Lee Kin Mun, a Singaporean social and political blogger who is more popularly known by his Internet persona, "Mr. Brown," said, "This is censorship, plain and simple."

Reporters Without Borders ranks Singapore 149th globally in terms of press freedom.