Bloggers beware -- if you take it, you must claim it

Bloggers beware -- if you take it, you must claim it

New regulations may be on the way compelling bloggers to declare their freebies
New MDA regulations for bloggers
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Everyone loves opinions. But as blowhard bloggers become a larger source of tips and advice for people, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) is considering strict disclosure rules for bloggers and guidelines for reviews.

An MDA spokesperson told the "Straits Times" that such regulations will protect consumers by enabling them to make informed assessments about what they read. The MDA did not say when these rules would take effect or elaborate on penalties for violating them.

The move mirrors new U.S. regulations compelling writers on the Internet  to make 'clear and conspicuous' disclosures of any freebies or payments they get from companies whose products they review. The penalty for non-disclosure? A fine of US$11,000 (S$15,360).

Blogsphere response has come quickly -- csi commented on the Temasek Review that this "action is more in line with looking at bloggers who blog their makan (food) experiences and the other kinds of that stuff that can generate income for others."

But an anonymous poster saw a more insidious intent, writing that "the intrusion of a blogger’s privacy is well-targeted, cynical, frivolous and striking of bunker mentality of 'fixing' all dissenting opinions besides those of opposition political parties."

Claudia from the Singapore Blog Press asks, "How much more do we have to remind ourselves (and the companies) that full disclosure and transparency is utmost important in this new media economy?"

Consider today's message just one more reminder. There will certainly be more to come.