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Yaacob Ibrahim, Arts

Pilot and public consultation for arts term licensing scheme to be held in Q2 of 2014

Published on Feb 18, 2014 3:14 PM
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The Singapore Dance Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker. The Media Development Authority (MDA) will conduct a pilot for a proposed scheme which allows arts groups to classify their own performances in the second quarter of the year. -- FILE PHOTO: DENNIS NG

The Media Development Authority (MDA) will conduct a pilot for a proposed scheme which allows arts groups to classify their own performances in the second quarter of the year.

This is to test the processes and allow arts groups to clarify issues before it is formally launched, said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Tuesday.

"We envisage that term licensees and their content assessors will need time to familiarise themselves to self-classifying their performance," said the minister, in response to a question from Nominated MP Janice Koh.

Around the same time, there will also be a public consultation on the amendment bill, which will pave the way for the scheme to be enacted.

The proposed term licensing scheme will divide arts groups into two tiers. Tier 1 groups can self-classify performances with a General rating and without racial, religious or political content. Tier 2 licensees can self-classify performances up to the Restricted 18 rating.

It was announced last March by Dr Yaacob during the debate on his ministry's budget.

So far, feedback from arts groups have included questions on whether term licensing would result in self-censorship, and concern from parents on whether it would mean a relaxation of standards.

He added that in the case of disagreements over classifications, the authorities will be reasonable and fair in assessing the decision.

He also gave the assurance that they would be flexible and "understand the context in which (the disagreement) took place".

MDA will also "consult widely", including even the arts group, if there is negative feedback regarding classifications.

"We want the arts groups to work together with us to ensure a vibrant arts scene which meet societal norms and standards," said the minister.