Dated: 22 February 2002

MediaCorp TV has been fined by the Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) for showing inappropriate footage taken from the Chu Mei-Feng sex scandal video on Channel 8's News 8 At Ten.

The news programme, aired on 3 January 2002, featured a report about the Chu scandal, focusing on the sale of the illegal VCD in Singapore. The segment ended with excerpts from the illegal VCD, of Chu and her lover in bed. Following the broadcast, members of the public wrote to the press and SBA, voicing their disapproval and unease about the featured footage, which they felt to be pornographic and offensive.

SBA reviewed the matter and found that while the selected visuals were pixellated to blur the nudity, it was still obvious that the couple were naked and engaging in foreplay. The visuals were deemed as highly sexually suggestive and offensive to good taste and decency. The news segment was therefore in breach of the Free-To-Air (FTA) TV Programme Code as it failed to comply with the stipulated guidelines which disallow nudity on TV and require sexual matters to be treated with discretion and good taste. It was also SBA's view that the use of the selected video footage was sensationalistic and meant to titillate.

Taking into account the severity of the breaches and taking into consideration MediaCorp TV's explanation on the matter, SBA found that a penalty was warranted. MediaCorp TV was issued a compounded fine of $10,000.


SBA introduced financial sanctions for programming breaches on TV and Radio on 1 November 1998 and 1 May 1999 respectively. The objective of a financial penalty is to facilitate observance of the Programme and Advertising Codes, which require TV and radio broadcasters to maintain quality programming and appropriate standards of public broadcast. This includes the need to be sensitive to issues of public concern such as religion, sex, violence, foul language and family-viewing times.

The practice of fining and publicising breaches is not unique to Singapore. Similar practices take place in countries like Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Not all cases of programme or advertising breaches of SBA's codes will incur a penalty. Depending on the severity of the breaches, the Authority will either advise, warn or penalise the broadcasters.

In the event of penalty cases, broadcasters are given a right of reply and the opportunity to appeal to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts against the fine, through the Broadcasting Appeals Advisory Committee (BAAC). The BAAC, an appointed 14-member panel, will consider the case and give their recommendations to the Minister, whose decision is final.

Breaches of the codes can attract​ a fine of up to $50,000, depending on the severity of the breach.

SBA's approach to programme regulation is to be reasonable and fair. Only clear cut, serious and recurring cases of programming breaches will draw a fine.

Since 1999, SBA has issued penalties for seven other programming breaches which were committed by free-to-air TV and radio licensees.