MediaCorp series didn’t breach Films Act (Oh really?)

Martyn See
23 Oct 05\tml

1) Interesting that MICA has chosen not to invoke the exemptions provided for in
Section 40 of the Films Act but opted instead for Section 33 which allows films
relating to “reporting of current events.” Does this mean that anyone who wishes to make a documentary about opposition figures can now do so if they follow exactly the same format as Up Close?

2) More than one person has commented to me that Singapore Rebel feels exactly
like ‘Up Close’. My video does not contain a single mention of Chee Soon Juan’s
party nor its platforms. Until now, MDA has not told me exactly why Singapore Rebel has been deemed a ‘party political film.’ The above letter does not bother to disclose the reason either.

3) The police report lodged against MediaCorp for the screening of ‘Up Close’
includes another documentary, made by Hong Kong-based RTHK and shown on CNA in
2002. Success Stories: Lee Kuan Yew charts the political career of Lee Kuan Yew and contains scenes on the Government’s responses to political opponents such as Francis Seow, Tang Liang Hong, JB Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan. Would the Government qualify this documentary as “non-partisan” and aired “for the purpose of reporting current affairs” as well?

4) Interesting that the above letter has chosen the term “ministers” instead of “PAP ministers” and “non-partisan” rather than “unbiased.” Section 33 of the Films Act, for which I am under investigations for, is much broader than that. That MICA has now given the all-clear to Up Close means that the series

– did not contain any wholly or partly any matter which is intended or likely to
affect voting in any election or national referendum in Singapore

– did not contain wholly or partly either partisan or biased references to or
comments on any political matter, including

i) an election or a national referendum in Singapore;

ii) a candidate or group of candidates in an election;

iii) an issue submitted or otherwise before electors in an election or a
national referendum in Singapore;

iv) the Government or a previous Government or the opposition to the Government
or previous Government;

v) a Member of Parliament;

vi) a current policy of the Government or an issue of public controversy in
Singapore; or

vii) a political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or
mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body.

The above letter suggest that all five episodes of Up Close did not make a
single biased reference to any of the above.

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