Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore clarifies decision-making process for ads following Pink Dot issue

The Pink Dot advertisements for its July 1 event at Hong Lim Park are displayed on the front door panels and along an escalator inside Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on June 9, 2017.
The Pink Dot advertisements for its July 1 event at Hong Lim Park are displayed on the front door panels and along an escalator inside Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on June 9, 2017. ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

SINGAPORE - Singapore's advertising watchdog has come out to clarify its decision-making processes after it asked for amendments to be made to Pink Dot advertisements at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard last Thursday (June 8).

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore's (ASAS) had asked for Pink Dot and Cathay to consider removing the tagline "Supporting the freedom to love" on the banners displayed at the shopping mall.

The ads for Pink Dot - an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rally - are displayed on the front door panels and along an escalator inside the mall, and had drawn complaints from a Facebook group which is opposed to the event.

In a statement on Wednesday (June 14), ASAS' chairman, Professor Tan Sze Wee, said the council makes decisions through a vote when it receives feedback on advertisements.

"Members will have one vote, and all decisions will be (made) by a simple majority of the members present. In the event that the votes are divided, the chairman will have a casting vote," he said.

There are currently 27 council members.

 
 

"Any member of ASAS who has a vested interest in a dispute must immediately declare that interest and be absent from all deliberations," he added.

He said that ASAS had received public feedback on the Pink Dot advertisement. However, it could not disclose the source of any feedback it received.

The statement also reiterated that the Pink Dot advertisements did not breach the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP), specifically the section on family values.

It added that the request to remove the tagline was made as ASAS is of the view that advertisements in public spaces should be "prepared with a sense of responsibility to public sentiments" and avoid contributing to "heightened public sensitivities".

The statement also stated that ASAS was set up in 1976 to "promote ethical advertising" while reflecting community standards. Council members are appointed by their respective organisations, representing industry players such as advertisers, advertising agencies, media owners and government agencies.