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The PAP government has prevented the SDP from further posting our campaign videos because it says that under the Films Act, “party political films” are prohibited. In particular, it says that our “Pappy Washing Powder” video constitutes such a party political film and therefore contravenes the law.$CUT$
The law is in place, the PAP says, to “ensure that political debate in Singapore is conducted in a responsible and dignified manner, and not by using the film medium to sensationalise serious issues in a biased or emotional manner. The laws thus uphold the seriousness of the election process.”
This is a bit rich given the fact the the Government recently posted this video and this video which depict the serious issue of the Medishield Life in a comical fashion. One uses the fable of Monkey God and the other a song from a Hong Kong comedy. These videos discussing the serious issue of healthcare coverage for the elderly are anything but serious.
In addition, they are produced in dialect, one Hokkien and the other Cantonese, which is in direct violation of the Government’s policy of prohibiting the use of dialects in official media.
If these are not bad enough, the PAP has even allowed the death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew to be turned into a musical.
Clearly, the reason for banning future SDP videos is not an attempt “ensure that political debate in Singapore is conducted in a responsible and dignified manner”. The move cannot be seen as anything else other than a naked attempt to stop the SDP’s effective use of the social media to communicate our message to the people.
The video, Pappy Washing Powder, which the Government has cited as having contravened the Films Act is no different in its intent from the Monkey God video or LKY the Musical which is to reach out to the public on issues through satire, parody and song.
One of the most important tenets of the rule of law is that laws must be applied consistently to all parties – including the government. The application of the Films Act on the SDP’s video is selective and for political partisan purposes. It is obvious that the PAP government has done this with the upcoming elections in mind.
In this instance, Pappy Washing Powder, which has garnered 30,000 views in less than two weeks, is effective in communicating the message that the PAP is not a transparent, accountable and democratic government.
What the PAP should do is to match the SDP in creativity and resourcefulness when it comes to reaching out to the people, not ban the SDP’s activities whenever we become effective.
We call on the Government to review its subjective view that Pappy Washing Powder has contravened the Films Act.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party