Singapore artists release video calling for rejection of MDA's self-classification scheme


A group of Singapore artists have put together a video calling on the wider arts community to reject the Media Development Authority's (MDA) proposed amendments to the Public Entertainments & Meetings Act.

They hope to raise awareness on the possible consequences of the MDA's proposed self-classification scheme, which they believe will encourage self-censorship by arts groups.

The video provides the background of the scheme and explains why the artists disagree with it. It is narrated in a mix of several languages by prominent artists such as Cultural Medallion recipients Ivan Heng, a theatre director, and Mrs Santha Bhaskar, a pioneer in Indian classical dance here, as well as musicians Benjamin Kheng and Inch Chua. Some practitioners are featured together with their children, such as actress Karen Tan and choreographer Kuik Swee Boon.

The MDA announced its arts term licensing scheme on May 12, a voluntary scheme that is meant to give those who sign up for it more agency in self-classifying their shows. Groups taking part in the scheme will appoint an MDA-registered content assessor, who will be trained according to the authority's own classification code. Licensing officers from the MDA have the authority to reject groups' classifications and revoke their licenses. Groups whose assessors mis-classify work can also face a fine of up to $5,000.

In response, artists' network Arts Engage released a Position Paper on May 30 strongly objecting to the scheme. So far, more than 54 arts groups and 255 individuals have endorsed the Position Paper prepared by Arts Engage, which calls for further dialogue and to delay tabling the scheme in Parliament.

Follow Corrie Tan on Twitter @CorrieTan

Video here:

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