Parliament Sitting on 4 April 2022

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


41. Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information how long and how many rounds of negotiation took place between the Government and Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) before the decision was made on the establishment of the SPH Media Trust.


Answer:

1. Under the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA), a proposal by a licensee to transfer its newspaper business to a different entity requires regulatory approval. Accordingly, Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPHL) shared its proposal to restructure its media business with the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) prior to their announcement in May 2021. The discussions were not negotiations but for SPHL to explain its proposal and to seek MCI’s in-principle approval.

2. In our assessment, MCI had considered the structural pressures from digital disruption and declining advertising revenues that many international newspaper companies faced. The proposal to restructure and transfer the ownership of the media business to a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) would remove the news media business from the constraints of a listed company and enable significant investments in its transformation and sustainability. Given the above considerations, MCI agreed to SPHL’s proposal.