Dated: 4 April 2002

The Programmes Advisory Committee (PAC) released its seventh Annual Report today, for the period 1 March 2001 to 28 February 2002. The Committee advises and gives feedback to Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) on the range and quality of broadcast programmes in Singapore.

In the latest Annual Report, the PAC welcomed the introduction of two new channels by SPH MediaWorks as there are more programme choices for viewers on the free-to-air TV. At the same time, Singaporeans continue to have access to a wide range of programmes on MediaCorp channels. There are also 38 channels on Singapore Cable Vision offering an array of programmes of various genres and languages for subscribers to choose from.

However, the Committee commented that greater competition had not led to significant improvements in entertainment programmes last year. In the bid to achieve high ratings, the PAC observed that the broadcasters were inclined to appeal to the lowest denominator which led to a general decline in the quality and range of entertainment programmes. While the number of entertainment programmes on free-to-air TV had increased, the Committee felt that the range and quality could be further improved. It was also observed that some quality entertainment programmes were relegated to late night timeslots.

The PAC noted that among the creditable local and acquired entertainment programmes were War Diary, Talentime 2001, Judging Amy, The Practice (Ch 5), 3 Women and a Half, You Light Up My Life (Ch 8), Lady Warriors of the Yang Family (Ch 8), Celebrity Travellers, Exchange Lives and Apple Pie (Ch U).

The PAC did note that the quality for the other genres were satisfactory, in particularly children, info-educational and current affairs programmes. The PAC was pleased with Kids Central as most of the children's programmes broadcast were of good standard and helped to educate and entertain younger viewers at the same time. Local children's programming of merit included titles like Kids United, The Big Q and Art Factory.

Channel NewsAsia (CNA) had performed commendably in its coverage of regional and world events with an Asian and local perspective. It had also shown improvement in its range and presentation of documentaries. Programmes like Asia Speaks, which examined the impact of the US September 11 terrorist attacks, were relevant and insightful.

The PAC also applauded MediaCorp Group's and SPH MediaWork's effort for producing good quality current affairs and informational programmes like Thinking Animals (CNA), Building Dreams (Arts Central), Roots of our Origin, and You're OK, I'm OK (Ch U). They were also pleased that the standard in various Mandarin current affairs series had remained high. Programmes like TR Report, Focus, Frontline (Ch 8) and Inside Out (Ch U) provided viewers with information and analyses on local and international issues of significance.

On the cultural front, Arts Central had continued to do well through programming such as High Notes and Wayang - the Final Curtain. The return of a regular local arts magazine series, Art Nation, was seen to be an encouraging move for the arts. The PAC lauded Ch 8 for its efforts to interest its viewers in the arts through two local productions - Common Art and Art TV.

While sports programming had maintained its range, the PAC observed that the loss of key soccer programmes such as the English Premiere League series on free-to-air channel was keenly felt by sports fans who do not subscribe to cable TV. The closure of CityTV was also a blow to the local sports fans as it meant the loss of a free-to-air channel dedicated to sports programmes.

In providing broadcasting services, the PAC welcomed broadcasters' efforts to add value by dubbing or subtitling quality TV programmes. However, they observed that the standard of dubbing and subtitling was uneven.

The Committee observed that the boundaries of programmes and advertisements had also been pushed in the drive to gain higher viewership, particularly on free-to-air TV. There were more concerns raised by the public, with the bulk of feedback pertaining to sexual content/suggestiveness, social norms/lifestyles and violence. The PAC views this trend as undesirable and felt that broadcasters should strive for programming which does not compromise programme standards.

On radio programmes, the Committee noted that the weekly listenership for the medium had hit an all time high of 95.8 per cent or 2.87 million listeners last year. However, the range of radio programmes remained largely similar to last year's output except for the two new stations from UnionWorks which had more emphasis on music than the former stations from NTUC RadioHeart. The PAC also observed that some information programmes could be presented with greater
objectivity and balance.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023