02 March 2009

Beautiful, wonderful creatures make disappearing act, part 2

A Pamela Koh wrote to the Straits Times to complain about the cuts made to Sean Penn's and Dustin Lance Black's acceptance speeches at the Oscars. Mediacorp replied. Star TV also made cuts. Full essay.

1 comment:

kfish said...

That the censorship in Singapore is so strict when it comes to same-sex issues is disgusting for a country that wants to stand among world leaders. However, I really don't condemn Mediacorp or Star TV in this case at all.

The television stations have to obey the laws laid down by parliament. There's a similar problem in America, where the stations have to censor foul language and nudity to comply with FCC directives.

In the American case, vague and contradictory rulings by the FCC have led to the stations taking a zero-tolerance policy to avoid the hefty fines, enforcing a standard much stricter than the standards set by the FCC.

My point is that televisions stations have to be really careful to obey the law in the broadcast regions. By all means, I want to hear more complaints about the censorship of what should have been a deeply moving speech trying to provoke a greater awareness of an important issue in society. And certainly I can understand people wanting to avoid criticising the government too much.

But always bear in mind that television stations are a business. They just don't have the option to break the law if they want to keep running. The root cause of any censorship of media comes from the laws behind them.

The most important part of the story is in your last few lines - the futility of such measures by any country in a world where uncensored streams of information are so easily available, and the internet is such a big part of modern-day culture.