MDA reminds political parties to abide by rules governing party political films

Members of the public attending a People's Action Party (PAP) rally in 2011. MDA has cautioned all political parties ahead of the upcoming election.
Members of the public attending a People's Action Party (PAP) rally in 2011. MDA has cautioned all political parties ahead of the upcoming election.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Media Development Authority (MDA) has reminded political parties not to produce and distribute party political films in the run-up to the general elections.

It cited, for instance, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) clip Pappy Washing Powder and noted that such films are banned under Section 33 of the Films Act.

MDA, however, said it would not be taking action as parties may have not been fully aware of the requirements under the Act. Still, it added that it "will not hesitate to enforce the law firmly" if parties or candidates continued to publish such films.

The clip, which is slightly longer than one minute and was uploaded on YouTube by the SDP on Aug 5, shows a woman using a washing powder named Pappy White and bearing a lightning logo, to remove the words "transparency", "accountability", and "democracy" from T-shirts.

In its reminder, the MDA said that section 33 of the Films Act ensures "that political debate in Singapore is conducted in a responsible and dignified manner".

Films must not be used to "to sensationalise serious issues in a biased or emotional manner", it added.

The note to political parties also listed certain types of party political films that are allowed, such as live recordings of lawful events, commemorative videos, and factual documentaries.

ziliang@sph.com.sg