Govt policies on media content will not alter upon repeal of Section 377A: MCI

LGBT media content will continue to warrant higher age ratings, the ministry said. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Government policies on media content will not change with the impending repeal of the law that criminalises sex between men, said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) on Monday (Aug 22).

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media content will continue to warrant higher age ratings, it added.

In a statement, the ministry reaffirmed the Government's position that the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code does not mean that the tone of society will be changed.

"Our content regulatory approach has to be sensitive to societal norms and values. We will continue to take reference from prevailing norms," said MCI.

This comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at the National Day Rally on Sunday that Singapore will repeal Section 377A and decriminalise sex between men.

But to guard against the move triggering a drastic shift in societal norms, the Government will also amend the Constitution to protect the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman to stave off future legal challenges, he added.

On Monday, MCI noted that the authorities regulate media content to protect younger audiences from age-inappropriate content while allowing mature audiences to make informed choices.

"Media content with higher reach and impact is subject to more stringent requirements," said the ministry, adding that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) regularly consults its advisory committees on specific titles as well as content guidelines and regulations.

In June, Disney-Pixar animated film Lightyear, which was banned in several countries over a same-sex kiss scene, was screened in Singapore with an NC16 rating.

IMDA had said then that the film, which contains depictions of a female lead character and her partner starting a family and sharing a kiss, is the first commercial children's animation to feature overt homosexual depictions. The movie thus warrants a higher rating, it said.

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