Why didn't IMDA check with MHA regarding concert?

Swedish black metal band Watain, whose 2013 album The Wild Hunt topped the Swedish music charts, were set to play their debut Singapore concert on March 7, 2019.
Swedish black metal band Watain, whose 2013 album The Wild Hunt topped the Swedish music charts, were set to play their debut Singapore concert on March 7, 2019.PHOTO: WATAIN/ FACEBOOK

I support the Government's decision to cancel Swedish black metal band Watain's concert (IMDA pulls plug on gig hours before Swedish band's show, March 8).

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has much to answer for.

Why did IMDA approve the concert in the first place, given that an online search would reveal the band's repertoire of anti-Christian songs, stage set-ups involving Satanic imagery and concert antics that include adorning the stage with rotting animal meat.

Shouldn't IMDA have sought the guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs from the start, given the band's history of performing in a manner inconsistent with the Government's policy of preserving public order and its potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore's religious and social harmony?

Today, despite our differences in ethnicity, religion and culture, we live together as one people, with a harmony that is remarkable among nations.

But it would be a mistake to take this state of affairs for granted or to overlook the institutions, policies and efforts that have carefully nurtured the social harmony we now cherish.

I believe IMDA's actions put these at risk.

As IMDA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Communications and Information, I hope the ministry will explain its actions for the benefit of all Singaporeans.

Sattar Bawany (Professor)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'Why didn't IMDA check with MHA regarding concert?'. Print Edition | Subscribe