Report card on local media content calls for improvements in scripting and technical standards

Channel 5 psychiatric drama Left Behind, starring Fiona Xie (pictured), needed “realism in scripting”, said the Programme Advisory Committees. PHOTO: MEDIACORP
Channel 5 psychiatric drama Left Behind, starring Fiona Xie (pictured), needed “realism in scripting”, said the Programme Advisory Committees. PHOTO: MEDIACORP
In an episode of Bridget's Adventures, Straits Times journalist Bridget Tan hangs on for dear life as she attempts wakesurfing for the first time. ST FILE PHOTO: SPH
In an episode of Bridget's Adventures, Straits Times journalist Bridget Tan hangs on for dear life as she attempts wakesurfing for the first time. ST FILE PHOTO: SPH

SINGAPORE - The range and quality of local media content last year were generally good, say the Programme Advisory Committees (PAC), who have issued their third annual report to the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

But the four committees - one for each of the official languages - also called for improvements in scripting and technical standards in Mediacorp Channel 5 and Suria dramas.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) was said to show "good potential" as a partner for public service broadcast content but it added that production quality needed to be more consistent.

Online series from SPH were launched in November 2016 and are hosted on platforms such as ST.com and RazorTV. They include adventure sports info-ed show Bridget's Adventures and interview series The Newsmaker.

On the plus side, the PAC - which comprise members of the public across ages, ethnicities and occupations - enjoyed the "diverse, bolder topics and fresh presentation formats across dramas and information programmes". Well-made programmes singled out for mention include Channel 5 gameshow Don't Forget To Remember, Channel U child labour documentary Lost Innocence, Suria drama Aduh... Bibikku! (Oh... My Maid!) and Vasantham current affairs series Ethiroli (Echo).

However, Channel 5 psychiatric drama Left Behind needed "realism in scripting" and Suria melodramas such as Kemelut (Crisis) featured "comparatively basic visual presentation styles, editing and camera work".

The report also called for more arts content in Vasantham's info-education offerings, such as a dedicated series on classical Indian arts.

The PAC also paid attention to local broadcaster Mediacorp's online content platform, Toggle.

While there have been "vast improvements" made to the Toggle platform, including push notifications for episode updates, more needed to be done, including better streaming quality.

The report also took note of content breaches during the year in review, including fines for SPH Radio and Mediacorp for racially insensitive content. On Kiss 92's morning show, the deejays made remarks which "reinforced certain racial stereotypes" while discussing the results of a sleep study; and Mediacorp's Toggle received flak when an episode of the web drama I Want To Be A Star featured actor Shane Pow in "blackface".

It said that "it is crucial for broadcasters to consistently exercise sensitivity with regard to content that touch on racial and religious issues, as these can be potentially divisive".