Singapore has introduced a new internet licensing system to enforce a ban on gay website content, in effect as of June 1.

The new regulation is designed to enforce Singapore’s Internet Code of Practice, which prohibits material that “advocates homosexuality or lesbianism”.

Licenses apply to Singaporean sites reporting regularly on the country’s news and current affairs, and receiving at least 50,000 unique visitors from within Singapore each month. The national media regulator will issue a licensing notification once it decides a website has met these criteria. Licensees breaching prohibitions on internet content face fines of around AU$41,000.

Singapore’s Internet Code of Practice was implemented in 1997, and bans most depictions of sexual activity. The ban on gay content is part of a clause also prohibiting incest, paedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia.

The nation’s media regulator said the rule aims to bring the regulation of online news sites in line with traditional news outlets.

Sex between men is still illegal in Singapore, carrying a penalty of two years imprisonment.

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