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Film on exiles – MDA explains what “purely private” means

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The Media Development Authority (MDA) has elaborated on what it meant when it said on Thursday that “a purely private” screening of the film by Tan Pin Pin was allowed.

The film, titled “To Singapore, With Love”, consists of interviews with Singapore exiles who now reside in several countries.

The MDA had on Wednesday said that the film “undermine[s] national security” and rated it “Not Allowed For All Ratings”.

However, the MDA had also said that “a purely private” screening was allowed.

On Friday, it explained what it meant.

"Whether a screening is private will depend on many factors, including how these screenings are planned and conducted and who is permitted access,” the MDA was reported by the Straits Times to have said.

The MDA added, "For example, a screening of a film to one's own family members or personal friends could be private screening if no other person is permitted access."

The regulatory authority did not provide further details of what other circumstances would qualify as “purely private”.

The MDA’s decision to disallow the film to be screened publicly has met with howls of protests from Singaporeans, including a group of activists and artists.

The latest to express disappointment with it is academic and media watcher Cherian George.

“It is also an insult to Singaporeans, who are in effect being told that they are not smart enough to engage critically with Tan’s film, no matter how biased it may be, and to weigh what her interviewees claim against what the official history states,” Dr Cherian said in an online post.

The film, which has won critical acclaim ad several awards overseas, will be shown in India, the Philippines, London and Taiwan this month.

It is also currently on a four-city tour in Malaysia, playing in Petaling Jaya, Johor Baru, Kuantan and Penang.

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