Singapore GE2020: New constituency political broadcasts to air from July 3 to 7

The ELD said eligible parties will be informed of their allocated time for their party political broadcasts on Nomination Day. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The special broadcasts for election candidates of the various constituencies to get their messages out to voters will be aired on TV from July 3 to 7, starting at 7pm.

The usual party political broadcasts, in which various parties will get a chance to address voters, will also be aired from 7pm. There will be two such broadcasts: On July 2 and 9, which is Cooling-off Day.

With large physical rallies disallowed in GE2020, in line with health advisories to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the constituency and party political broadcasts scheduled for prime time on national TV have taken on an added significance for candidates to reach out to voters.

The constituency political broadcasts, in particular, will give all candidates a chance to address voters on TV on Mediacorp's Channel 5.

Each candidate will get three minutes to speak, so a single-member constituency's broadcast will last three minutes, while that for a group representation constituency will be 12 or 15 minutes, depending on whether it is a four-or five-member GRC.

Recording will start from July 2, and candidates can opt to speak in any of the four official languages - English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, the Elections Department (ELD) said yesterday.

This means Chinese dialects, which are sometimes spoken at rallies, will not be allowed.

The constituency broadcasts may be the only way some parties may get TV airtime, as the party political broadcast time slots will be offered only to parties fielding at least six candidates under a recognised party symbol.

This rule, which was already in place in previous general elections, will remain this time round.

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The ELD said eligible parties will be informed of their allocated time for the party political broadcasts on Nomination Day.

As with the constituency broadcasts, these party-level broadcasts can be delivered only in the four official languages.

All these broadcasts will be aired across 19 TV and radio channels.

The ELD said all broadcasts should not contain content that is of a libellous or criminal nature.

It added that the Infocomm Media Development Authority will issue more guidelines on the broadcasts by today.

As restrictions due to Covid-19 have caused much of the campaigning to go online, the Government will also provide venues for parties to live-stream their rallies.

Power, Internet connectivity and basic furnishings will be provided at these venues, but candidates must make their own arrangements to ensure successful delivery of their live streams.

Up to 10 venues will be provided each day, with three time slots - from 7am to 10am, noon to 3pm, and 7pm to 10pm - for each venue, and candidates can apply to use them from July 1 to 8. The booking fee for each time slot is $107.

The ELD said use of the venues is optional, and candidates are free to live-stream their rallies from other places.

It added that online platforms used for live-streaming will have to be declared to the Returning Officer. Foreigners are also barred from participating in these live streams.

"The increased airtime - in the form of greater audience reach through more platforms and at different timings - will help candidates to reach voters with varying media consumption habits at a national level," said ELD.

The department also stressed the importance of cyber security, and reminded political parties and candidates to protect their social media accounts, among other things.

"If candidates and political parties suspect their accounts or systems have been compromised or misused, they should lodge a police report immediately and keep ELD informed," it said.

Tham Yuen-C

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2020, with the headline New constituency political broadcasts to air from July 3 to 7. Subscribe