Mothership’s press accreditation suspended after breaking Budget 2022 embargo

Motherships press accreditation suspended after breaking Budget 2022 embargo

SINGAPORE: Mothership’s press accreditation has been suspended with immediate effect after it broke an embargo on the details of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) increases, which were announced on Friday (Feb 18) in the Budget 2022 statement.

In response to CNA’s queries, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said on Sunday that Mothership broke the embargo by publishing an infographic on its Facebook page that detailed the staggered GST increases.

The details of the increases were “shared with selected media slightly ahead” of the announcement made by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in the Budget 2022 statement, the spokesperson added.

“Because of this, the Ministry of Communications and Information has suspended Mothership’s press accreditation with immediate effect,” said the ministry spokesperson.

Mothership has until Mar 4 to make an appeal.

People working in media in Singapore may apply for a press accreditation card from MCI. The card is primarily used by government agencies to “determine the credibility” of a media outlet or its staff, said the MCI’s website. 

In response to CNA’s queries, Mothership’s managing editor Martino Tan said that the breaking of the embargo was a “genuine mistake made by prematurely publishing an infographic on Mothership’s Facebook page”.

The mistake was identified in less than two minutes and the post was immediately deleted, he added. 

“While further investigations ensue, the staff involved have been issued a two-week suspension,” said the managing editor.

Mothership is cooperating fully with the authorities in their investigations into the matter, Mr Tan said.

“We sincerely apologise for the egregious mistake, particularly to the public servants who have been working so hard to ensure the timely and accurate communication of government information,” he said. 

“We take our role of providing timely and accurate news in the digital space seriously. We are therefore committed and resolved to draw the right lessons from this incident, strengthen our editorial processes, and rebuild trust with our stakeholders,” he added.

Mr Wong announced on Friday in Parliament that the Government will delay the planned GST hike to 2023 and stagger the increase in two steps. 

He said the first increase from 7 per cent to 8 per cent will take place on Jan 1, 2023, and the second increase from 8 per cent to 9 per cent will take place on Jan 1, 2024.

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