Singapore to study tighter disclosure rules for bloggers

Sumner Lemon
IDG News Service

Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) will consider issuing tighter rules for how bloggers disclose payments and gifts they receive from companies whose products they review, but officials said the effectiveness of any such regulations would likely be limited.

“MDA will further study the issue of disclosure rules for bloggers in its periodic policy reviews. MDA recognises that such disclosure in reviews of products and services benefits consumers, enabling them to make informed choices,” the government agency said in an e-mail response to questions.

The move by MDA to study such measures follows the release of a new set of rules by the U.S. Federal Communication Commission that requires bloggers to disclose payments and gifts when they are paid to endorse products. These rules only apply when a payment is directly tied to a product review, and does not include general advertising that isn’t directly linked to the product review.

The MDA statement didn’t say what types of payments or gifts would be covered under disclosure rules to be studied by officials.

However, the borderless nature of the Internet means that government regulations are generally limited in their effectiveness, MDA said, adding it wants to work with both industry and the public to take responsibility for what is written and read online.

“Internet content providers need to be conscious of the impact of what they write, and be responsible towards their users. On the other hand, the public are advised to be discerning and wary of claims made in online reviews,” the statement said.

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