Dated: 2 March 2001
The Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) released its sixth annual report today, for the period 1 March 2000 to 28 February 2001. The PAC reviews public feedback on broadcast programmes in Singapore and also recommends to Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) improvements to the range and quality of television and radio programmes.
During the year, the PAC is pleased to note that there have been further improvements to the range and quality of programming on TV and cable. The range of programmes have increased as there are now two new channels, Suria and Sportscity, and a revamped Central channel which has three focused programme belts, Kids, Arts and Vasantham (Tamil programming). Cable TV offered some 40 channels as three new channels, namely Variety Vision 2, Disney and Animal Planet were added.
The Committee commented that the quality output for most programme genres was satisfactory and the broadcasters have performed well, in particularly for info-educational programmes on Channel News Asia (CNA) and TCS, and for children's programmes on Kids Central and TCS 8. An example of the latter is The Big Q, which had also won a gold medal at the prominent 43rd New York Festival Awards. The PAC was impressed with locally produced programmes on CNA as they have enriched the public's understanding of history, social problems and technology. Examples of such programmes include Riding the Tiger, I AM and W3. CNA was also praised for providing timely and specialist coverage on major events such as the SQ006 aircrash and the US Presidential Elections.
The Committee also noted that viewers now have more choices for sports programming, including the addition of a programme called NRG! on Sportscity, an SBA commissioned project which updates young Singaporeans on the different kinds of sports available.
However, the Committee felt that there could still be room for improvement where local drama is concerned. These areas include the quality of scripting and limited plot development and variation. It was also observed that there was more focus on single persons than on families in local programmes, as in Spin, Money (TCS 5) and As You Like It (TCS 8).
As for the programme standards, the Committee assessed that by and large broadcasters have adhered to the standards but there needs to be a greater sensitivity pertaining to family viewing time and talk shows.
On the progress of radio programmes, PAC was generally satisfied with the range and quality of programming. The Committee noted positive public feedback for Passion 99.5, Symphony 92.4FM and NewsRadio.
On Radio's exercise of standards, the PAC observed that some morning shows such as on Perfect 10 and Class 95 crossed the line of good taste by their inclusion of many sexual innuendoes and off colour jokes, and these were offensive to some listeners.
The PAC concludes that with the rapid growth of the broadcast industry and the proliferation of programmes on TV, cable and radio, audiences will need to be more media savvy as they will have more programmes to choose from. There will be a need for public education such that members of the public, and especially the young, become more informed and discerning consumers of broadcast programmes. They should also be encouraged to give programme feedback to broadcasters and to make known their requests for quality programming.
RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE PAC
The key recommendations by the PAC include the following:
· Produce more programmes that develop social awareness and sensitivity</u>
The PAC suggested that there should be more programmes to help inform and educate the public on social issues of public concern.
· >Produce more programmes on volunteerism
The Committee proposed that to encourage the public to do more acts of volunteerism and help create a close knit community, broadcasters should provide more programmes on volunteerism.
· Scheduling Info-Ed Children's Programmes in more accessible timeslots
The PAC observed that the time slots for informational programmes could be scheduled at a later time rather than in the early afternoon as children in the afternoon session would miss the shows.
· Local Arts Magazine TV series on Arts Central
The PAC also called for Arts Central to consider producing a weekly arts magazine series similar to Art TV (TCS 8) and Semarak Budaya (Suria) which were successful programmes.
· More family-oriented programming
To provide a wider choice to viewers, the broadcasters were urged to produce more family-oriented programmes, rather than the current focus on singles and their lives.
· Striving for quantum improvements in local productions
Since competition among broadcasters will be on the rise with the introduction of a second broadcaster in the year 2001, the PAC strongly encouraged that more talents and production personnel be sourced and trained to bring local productions to higher standards.
· More sensitivity towards family viewing time
Broadcasters should exercise greater sensitivity when scheduling programmes during family viewing time. For instance, programmes with strong violent themes should be avoided.
· More documentaries on local sportsmen/women with achievements
The PAC proposed that there should be more documentaries in the same vein as the Tan Howe Liang documentary (Between the Ground and the Sky - the Tan Howe Liang Story). The Committee believes that it would be beneficial to start building a video library in recognition of the efforts of Singapore's successful sportsmen, women, coaches and officials.
· Inviting Celebrities and Personalities To Read Short Stories
To create greater awareness in literature, the PAC recommended that broadcasters invite celebrities and local writers to read short stories to listeners.
· Entertainment programmes to be of better taste on radio morning shows
The PAC also stressed that radio stations should not resort to sexual allusions and off colour jokes for high ratings. The radio presenters should come up with entertaining content and presentation that does not offend listeners.
MEMBERS OF PAC
The list of PAC members, who were appointed by the Minister for Information and the Arts to serve a two-year term from March 1999, is found in Annex 1.
PROGRAMMES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
(1 March 2000 - 28 February 2001)</b>
Professor Eddie Kuo
Dean, School of Communication Studies
Nanyang Technological University
Dr Khoo Kim Choo (Chairman - Children Programmes Advisory Subcommittee)
Adjunct Associate Professor
Social Work &Psychology Dept
National University of Singapore
Mr Teo Han Wue (Chairman - Cultural Programmes Advisory Subcommittee)
Director (Special Projects)
Artist Development Division
National Arts Council
Mrs Choo Cheh Hoon (Chairman - Entertainment Programmes Advisory)
External &Industry Relations Subcommittee
Centre for Film &Media Studies
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Professor Koh Tai Ann (Chairman - Info-Educational Programmes Advisory Subcommittee)
Dean of the School of Arts
Mrs Maureen Goh (Chairman - Sports Programmes Advisory Subcommittee)
Market Development &
Singapore Sports Council
Mr Rama Meyyappan
Films &Publications Dept
Mr Raymond Lim Siang Keat
Mr Bala Reddy
Senior State Counsel
Mr Adrian Peh
Yeo-Leong &Peh Advocate &Solicitors
Mr Kenneth Tan (up till December 2000)
Acorn Marketing &Research
Ms Ang Bee Lian
Community &Social Sector Development
Ministry of Community Development
Dr Mohd Maliki Osman
Dept of Social Work &Psychology
National University of Singapore
Mr Goh Chye Boon (up till June 2000)
National Youth Council