MDA advisory committees flag advertising on public broadcast media in new report

MDA's public advisory committees released a report reminding public television and radio broadcasters to be careful in their presentation of advertisements during programmes. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Care should be taken with the presentation of advertisements on public television and radio programmes, according to the latest report from the Media Development Authority's Public Advisory Committees (PACs).

If a programme promotes its sponsors' products before the end credits roll, broadcasters should make it obvious that viewers are watching an advertisement segment, the report said. Otherwise, such in-programme advertising - which features the programmes' actors and sets - could be "misleading".

The report also flagged radio advertisements for health supplements that targeted retirees and homemakers tuning in to Malay-language station Warna and Tamil-language station Oli. There was concern that these lengthy advertisements, which made use of testimonials touting health and beauty products' effectiveness, could result in listeners not seeking professional medical advice.

Sex and language on air also proved to be thorny subjects for the Programme Advisory Committee for English Programmes.

Singapore Press Holdings was issued a warning for a "crude, explicit and sexually suggestive" advertisement on its ONE FM 91.3 radio station. The line "if you buy me enough drinks, maybe I will show you my down under", delivered by a woman character, was found to breach broadcast guidelines.

A television commercial by travel company Expedia was chided for "excessive" use of Singlish, and some committee members objected to its "crude and inappropriate" use of the Hokkien expression "wah lao".

The committees' report, which reviewed broadcast productions from August 2014 to March 2016, found that local drama and infotainment programmes have improved in quality and cover a broader range of issues.

It offered suggestions for further improvement in developing diverse and competent programming, such as working with senior citizens on programmes targeted at that age group. The Malay Programmes Advisory Committee also felt that dramas featuring inter-racial relationships could explore the nuances of mixed marriages beyond superficial cultural differences.

Members of the four PACs, which are appointed by the Ministry of Communications and Information, review broadcast programmes in the four official languages and provide feedback to the Government on quality and standards.

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