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Population: 5.9 million
Internet penetration: 92%

Singapore’s media industry remains tightly regulated, with an intricate system of laws in place covering mainstream, digital, and social media. Independent and alternative websites, as well as people posting on social media, now deal with 'correction orders' under the country's strict 'anti-fake news' laws. 

With mainstream media already closely regulated, the authorities have been increasingly paying attention to what is said on social media, which is widely used by Singaporeans to discuss and share news. While WhatsApp (34%), Facebook (32%), and YouTube (28%) are the most used networks, the authorities have been paying particular attention to Instagram (20%) and TikTok, the fastest growing network for news at 15% (+3pp).

TikTok’s chief executive officer, Chew Shou Zi, is Singaporean, and one of the company’s two global headquarters is in Singapore. With the platform’s rise in popularity, it has also been classified as an ‘internet intermediary’, part of a list of platforms with obligations to combat fake news.

Known officially as the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), the country’s ‘anti-fake news’ law is just part of Singapores elaborate network of laws governing traditional and online media. The laws give the government the right to order the publication of ‘corrections’ to online content that it considers to be erroneous, or to prevent a ‘diminution of public confidence’ in the government. In August 2023, a TikTok user received three such correction orders for claims related to public housing and other policies,1 and in February this year, an order was given to opposition party leader Dr Chee Soon Juan for a video he put on social media, also about public housing. Dr Chee complied with the order and TikTok placed a notice under the original video that links to the governments correction notice.2 Another opposition leader, Mr Leong Mun Wai, stepped down as the secretary-general of his party in February 2024, in response to correction orders on his social media posts. Some international observers continue to express reservations about these laws, and more widely the state of free expression and media freedom in Singapore.

Alternative news site The Online Citizen, which had previously received correction orders as well as several sanctions from the government for offences including not declaring its funding, started publishing from Taiwan after again having its publishing licence suspended. A note on its homepage now says it has been marked as a ‘declared online location’ and is thus still within the regulations. Also displayed on its homepage is a notice saying: Multiple falsehoods have been communicated on this page. Viewers should exercise caution when accessing this page for information.’

But the site’s staff has set up another site, Gutzy Asia, also published in Taiwan, which covers Singaporean news and a small amount about other countries. The Online Citizen page now consists solely of hyperlinks to stories on Gutzy Asia, and its active Telegram account, where it has more than 5,000 subscribers, also distributes links to Gutzy Asia stories. 

The state-owned Mediacorp operates most of the television and radio stations on the island, including the 24-hour news network CNA (used weekly by 33%), English-language Channel 5 (25%), and Chinese-language Channel 8 (23%). It is owned by the government through its investment company, Temasek. The other large player is SPH Media Trust (SMT), which publishes most of Singapores local newspapers, including the English-language broadsheet The Straits Times (used weekly by 36%), Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao (8%), Malay-language Berita Harian (4%), and Tamil-language Tamil Murasu (2%).

SMT is funded by the government, which has committed S$900m for five years to finance its digital transformation. In the interim, some of its funding is being withheld as it failed to meet certain performance targets set out by the government. To strengthen its regional coverage, SMT acquired Tech In Asia, a publication focused on business tech news, which sparked questions on the use of government funding and mergers in the media industry; the government maintained the acquisition was consistent with the goals of its funding of SMT.

Digital native Mothership remains the most used online news website, though now tied with Channel NewsAsia (46%). Founded in 2014, Mothership has won a following primarily among younger people for its mix of social news and viral posts. But in September 2023, it drew flak after writing an article about a social media video that triggered public outrage against its creator. The article had included some inaccuracies, and Mothership apologised and updated the article. In October 2023, the site again lost its press accreditation for six months after breaking a news embargo for a government announcement on water prices – this restricted its access to government events but did not stop it from publishing.

Edson Tandoc Jr. and Matthew Chew
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Changing media

Online and social media remain the most common ways of accessing news in Singapore, while both TV and print have declined significantly over the last few years. Most survey participants do not pay for news.

Pay for online news



Trust in news overall



Trust in the news remains stable at 47% in 2024, with mainstream news brands Mediacorp’s Channel NewsAsia (74%) and SPH Media Trust’s (SMT) The Straits Times (73%) being the most trusted by audiences among the brands included. Alternative and independent outlets tend to be smaller and younger than legacy media organisations, and therefore many of them tend to be less well known. Scores should be seen in that context and not as a measure of the quality or trustworthiness of the content.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 47.19

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

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