Advertising watchdog wants 'supporting the freedom to love' tag removed from Pink Dot ad

Picture of the Pink Dot advertisements at Cathay Cineleisure on June 9, 2017.
Picture of the Pink Dot advertisements at Cathay Cineleisure on June 9, 2017. ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

SINGAPORE - The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas) has asked for a statement to be removed from advertisements that were put up at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard promoting the LGBT rally Pink Dot.

Asas told The Straits Times on Friday (June 9) that while the ad does not "technically" breach the general principle on family values in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP), the words "supporting the freedom to love" may affect public sensitivities.

"As such, Asas advised Cathay Organisation Holdings to remove the statement. However, the rest of the advertisement may otherwise remain," said the watchdog.

Pink Dot is an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rally at the Speakers' Corner. This year, it has had ads put up at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard - one is on the front doors of the building, and another runs along an escalator inside the mall. The advertisements feature Pink Dot's ambassadors, the July 1 date for the event at Hong Lim Park, and the tagline "supporting the freedom to love".

Asas noted that promoting the event is permissible as long as the organiser has obtained the necessary permit to hold it; hence details of the event, such as the date and location, are acceptable.

The advertising code's section on family values states that advertisements should not "downplay the importance of the family as a unit and foundation of society".

Cathay said that the advertisement belongs to Pink Dot and "Cathay is not in the position to decide on the removal of the statement".

Cathay said it has relayed Asas' request to Pink Dot.

Pink Dot said its tagline "supporting the freedom to love" is an inclusive one - "regardless of race, language, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity".

"Our aim is to have conversations and dialogue to promote understanding; through this, we hope to achieve consensus and not conflict. As such, we are open to speaking to Asas and invite them to a frank discussion on this," a Pink Dot spokesman said.