According to TOC sources, the party film which was supposed to be played at the official launch of Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Singapore Progress Party (PSP) has been approved by the government.
The party film had earlier caused an issue in terms of securing related permits from the Police, including the Public Entertainment License.
In a Facebook post on 3 June, Dr Tan announced that the official launch of the party has been postponed. This is because the police permit and other related permits such as the Public Entertainment License were pending, forcing Dr Tan to postpone the event which was scheduled for 16 June 2019.
But, the Police came out and said that there has been no delay in granting the party the necessary permits for the launch.
In fact, the Police told TODAY that it had been actively engaging PSP regarding the permits prior to the proposed date of the launch “with the intention of facilitating their approval before the planned event date”, adding that the Party had unilaterally decided to postpone the launch itself “without contacting Police”.
It appears that PSP’s chairman Wang Swee Chuang applied for a police permit and was asked to provide more information.
“As PSP wanted to play recorded music and screen a video/film, Mr Wang was advised to apply for a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL), and submit the video/film to IMDA (Info-communications Media Development Authority) for classification,” the Police told TODAY.
Since PSP did not submit the film for classification, the Police noted that the permits were not granted due to insufficient information.
But, now that the government has approved the party film, it’s interesting to know that the film, which is produced by local film maker Tan Bee Pin, has been rated as Parental Guidance (PG).
Film by opposition party prohibited by IMDA
Last year, opposition party Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) released a-minute long video titled “Pappy Washing Powder”.
The video was uploaded on YouTube and was shot like a washing detergent commercial that showed a woman using a washing detergent brand named Pappy White to get rid of words like “transparency”, “accountability” and “democracy” from white T-shirts.
As such, the video was classified as a party political film by the IMDA and is therefore prohibited under the Films Act.
The IMDA reminded the political parties to abide by the Films Act and to “ensure that political debate in Singapore is conducted in a responsible and dignified manner, and not by using the film medium to sensationalise serious issues in a biased or emotional manner”.
The Films Act defines a “party political film” as a film which is an advertisement made by or on behalf of any political party in Singapore, or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body; or which is made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore.
The IMDA, however, has decided not to take further actions against the party as the video is considered the first party political film. The IMDA said that as such the parties might not be fully aware of the requirements under the Act.
Similar political videos given approval by IMDA
Although SDP’s video was classified as a political film, another video, which had obvious political agenda, uploaded by Youth PAP was given the green light by Medial Development Authority (now IMDA) a few years ago.
Back in May 2014, the youth wing of the PAP released a video entitled, “Re-ignite the Passion of Servant Leadership”. It had members of the party promoting what they do in an attempt to persuade and encourage more Singaporeans to join their team.
Surprisingly, the video was cleared by the MDA and given a PG rating.
The MDA said the video “does not fall under the category of political films”.
If that is not all, Mothership also recently published a video on its Facebook page where it had a free-and-easy interview with Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Transport Janil Puthucheary.
In the video, the interviewer asked a number of important political questions to the Minister like the Transit Priority Corridor, the future of buses in the country, his preferred party – PAP or Barisan Sosialis, as well as MRT’s network map by 2040, while injecting some casual questions such as his pet peeve, favourite hawker food and more.
Local film-maker Martyn See questioned the possibility for Mothership to release a political video on its site.
He pointed out that since this video is “not a government produced film”, it will “NOT be exempted under Section 40 the Films Act”.
“As such, it would be subjected to the Films Act, in particular Section 33 which criminalises the production, exhibition and distribution of Party Political Films,” he wrote.
The local film-maker explained that the “film contains biased political matter, a political person promoting a political issue, party logos, unscripted dialogues, graphics and animation”.
Even though both the films released by Youth PAP and Mothership were political films, MDA chose to close its eyes and did not come after them, contrary to what it did to SDP.
As for PSP’s film which was given PG rating, TOC has approached the party for comments regarding this matter but it has yet to respond.