Repeal the Films Act and withdraw the proposed amendment bill

Following is a joint statement by CAN and Function 8, both an NGO.

A draconian piece of legislation like the Films Act enacted in 1981 has no place in any first world country, let alone one that hopes to position itself as a hub for the arts. It criminalises filmmakers, entertainment owners and organisations who make “party political films” and documentaries. It affords no distinction between these filmmakers and those who make obscene films.

Under the current act, the wording is broad and virtually anyone sharing any filmed material that might have a political message can be penalised. The penalties are exceptionally severe ranging from $100 per film to $100,000 and imprisonment. We question the intent of legislature in imposing such punishments.

In justifying the restrictions, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information, Communications and Arts said this in May 2005:

“Party political films’ are disallowed because they are an undesirable medium for political debate in Singapore. They can present political issues in a sensational manner, evoking emotional rather than rational reactions, without affording the opportunity for a meaningful rebuttal or explanation to audience and viewers.”

The explanation made no sense then, and continues to make no sense today. Singaporeans are not irrational beings, incapable of discernment – the law is an insult to our people’s intelligence.

The proposed amendments to the Films Act expands the definitions of terms, enlarges the scope of work of film censors, increases the types of offences, and empowers IMDA officers to raid premises (a job which we doubt such officers want to be burdened with).

There is nothing in the proposed amendments to assure the public that these officials are well qualified to review and rate films independently. Furthermore, raids should be carried out by police officers in possession of a proper warrant, not civil servants.

We are also appalled that the government is exempted from the provisions of the law (both in the original Act and in the proposed amendment). In today’s context, we are literally a one-party state. Under the law, the ruling party will thus be free to make party political films without fear of infringing the law. This is totally unacceptable and against public interest.

The proposed amendments to the Films Act appoint the minister as the final arbiter of  disputes especially those that allegedly concern “national security”. The minister represents the government and is clearly not an independent person. He has more important functions to perform than to be involved in policing films.

We urge the government to withdraw the proposed bill and repeal the Films Act 1981. By all means, categorise films fit for children and adults but let Singaporeans make up their own minds about party political films.



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9 Responses to “Repeal the Films Act and withdraw the proposed amendment bill”

  • oxygen:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH MAKING FILMS as long as it is not commercial porn as a business?

    PAPpys make film every day and fed peasants via national television with 1% truth, 99% lies, fantasy and propaganda.

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  • pap selected INDIAN president:

    We urge the government to withdraw the proposed bill and repeal the Films Act 1981. By all means, categorise films fit for children and adults but let Singaporeans make up their own minds about party political films.

    1st, to appeal to evil to cease from being evil is a fruitless exercise. it ain’t going to happen.

    2nd, as we all know, pap knows it is in a precarious position, the can go kaput anytime soon situation. that is why pap is paranoid about control. BUT since INTERNET, pap is wringing its hands. BECAUSE pap discovers less and less local born reads pap newspapers, less and less local born watch pap tv. MORE and more local born get news entertainment from INTERNET.

    3rd, to appeal to evil is to be declare weak, at the mercy of evil. probably the better move is to use INTERNET more. in 21st century INTERNET age, there is no need for local presence to disseminate local news local entertainment. if the content is TRUE, if the content is GOOD, the INTERNET does the job far better and most effectively.

    the better way to counter all the pap barriers is to ignore them by locating outside pap locality. the INTERNET permits such ignoring. remember. ignoring is the best tool. appealing is unlikely to work, since INSIDE is not within 200m and since INDIAN is malay we all know with lying pap appealing won’t work. but thank goodness INTERNET age is dismantling such anachronistic controls pap continues to put in place. at the rate things are declining in once mighty Singapore, pap kaput is much sooner despite all the pap cannot do this cannot do that childish out of date controlling.

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  • Sylvia Malaysia:

    Note that all local YouTube channel businessmen dare not voice anything political.

    This is one reason they are earning loads of money from Free Foods, Free Travels and hotel stays and free gifts.

    These people have traded Freedom of Expression with Greed for material goods.

    I am not saying they are like prostitutes.

    I never say that.

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  • RDB:

    The seed of dirty politics was planted by whose apapa? None other then his dead and gone papa Lee Kuan Yew who promoted his brand of “Boa Constrictor” of freedom of speech for Singaporeans. But total freedom of speech for his & PAP’s total freedom to slur, blame, bash, constrict, stymied, lock up & jailed in so-called Detentions Without Trials to blackmail by abusing The ISA inherited from the former British Colonial Masters meant for dealing with The Communists Insurgence. That said..

    His apapa further entrenched Detentions Without Trials by arbitrary detentions of up to the longest 32 years of Chia Thye Poh a brilliant Mechanical Engineer. IF Lee Kuan Yew was so absolutely convince that he was for all intend and purposes so darn correct, why did he not charge Chia Thye Poh etc in our Courts Of Law inherited from the British But detained him and etc by his dirty politics means instead? Pragmatism above Moral & Morale including Ethical Standards? He Lee Kuan Yew was a chap above all the Singapore Laws then inherited from the British by DEVIANT used of the ISA irrelevantly?

    And so his deviance to pave the way his arckia LHL was via his CHOSEN Scrooge Stooge PM2 Goh Choke Tong related to his wife Kwa Geok Choo by marriage whom he saved from NOL he was destroying! Now, if that isn’t even FILTHY politics, what else is it? For the common good he claim like the communist did in China, Russia etc without a morally & ethically fair contest? THAT if the “stature” of an “honourable” chap that so many Singaporeans supported and even shed tears for when he also died a mortal death? HOW FOOLISH those Singaporeans are who worshipped him like he was their “true and living God”! The road to Hell is laid with flowers that leads to ETERNAL DAMNATION DOOM. Don’t worry, he Lee Kuan Yew CANNOT save you from Eternal Hell Fire on Judgement Day as he is as mortal as you his FOOLISH supporters. He DIED too and is ash dust hasn’t he!

    HOW FOOLISH can 70% Singaporeans get just because they got in GE2015 September 11 too $900 “given” by his arckia LHL PM3 from the GST he took from you in his 11 as PM3!!! FOOS RUSH IN WHERE WISE MEN FEAR TO TREAD!!! Are they not who support LHL?

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  • MK:

    Lol this is a joke. What intelligence? Sheep ain’t suppose to think. Pigs , walking on 2 legs , spewing “sheep is DAFT” in condescending tone, will rule supreme!

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  • C'est la vie:

    I find it depressingly sad that Organisations like CAN, Function 8 and many others with a humanitarian and passionate principle/aspirations, conceive that a purposeful and well articulated statement directed at the SGov and its affiliates, will be attentively studied and considered.

    This would presuppose them, the SGov to be reasonable, impartial and fair minded.

    I am grateful that such Organisations have not abandon all aspirations and faith in the goodness in mankind, but this SGov is from atypical breeding and realm !!!

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  • Keff:

    Never mind claims of being a democracy or of being first-world.
    The Act makes no sense in a country that is supposed to have
    a first-class education system, as it indicates in no uncertain
    terms that the system we have churns out idiots who cant think.
    After all, education is supposed to train the mind to think!!

    One is forced to ask why the PAP is so terrified of people who
    think and who might disagree with it. Whatever it is, the Act
    is a Huge indictment of our education system and the PAP itself!
    It says that neither is what they claim to be.

    Ironically, it is the PAP itself saying this by pushing this Act,
    which is another illogical proposal in a growing list of such stuff!!!

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  • oxygen:

    I AM JUST WAITING FOR THIS COMEDY TO HAPPEN – it it NOT entire beyond the realm of possibility – a grasslooter bed a MP, video record it to close up stimulating details for blackmail USING HER HAND PHONE (a tool feature of film making in mobile phone) and if she doesn’t get enough satisfaction of physical, financial or power accumulation – SHE UPLOADS the SEX movie on internet for the whole world to see.

    It is no offence of law because no threat was made against the MP or simply denied of that in law.

    IS THE PAPpys going to charge this cunning grasslooter for “film-making” of political content since SEX AND ITS ORGY itself is NOT AN OFFENCE at law?

    This is DUMB LAW of attempting to criminalize politics YET AGAIN – one day it is going to BACKFIRE.

    GD Star Rating
  • Change We Must:

    Actually, they want Singaporeans to stop think and be creative so that these elites can rule Singapore forever. People who cannot think, cannot question. That’s what they wanted.

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