Dated: 16 April 2004

The agency is doing this in response to police concerns about a rise in the number of chatline related sexual crimes involving young victims over the past two years (Appendix A). The MDA also noted that many operators currently run their chatline services without adequate safeguards in place to protect young users from potential danger.

Under the Code, drafted in consultation with the Audiotext Service Providers Association (ASPA), all chatline operators are required to remove sexually explicit or offensive messages on their services that are accessible by the public. They have to ensure that their services are not used for solicitation of prostitution or any other unlawful activities. In addition, they must provide a hotline for public feedback, offer the option for parents to bar their children from accessing their services and disallow those below 18 years old from using their services.

When the new legislation takes effect from 1 June 2004, the 30 or so chatline operators here will no longer be able to place advertisements in publications targeting teenagers. They will be required to include cautionary messages in their advertisements to warn users of the dangers of meeting strangers through such services.

These advisories are to be included as part of the introductory messages for users accessing their services. The Code also requires chatline operators to deny access to users who have left abusive or offensive messages on their services. Operators must also compile a list of such users for circulation among their industry.

The MDA will continue to emphasise the importance of self-regulation by chatline service providers to ensure the safety of young users, and work with industry and civic groups to educate people on the need to exercise care and prudence when using such services.

For more information, please contact:
Felicia Toh
Corporate and Marketing Manager
Communications Division
Media Development Authority
Website :

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023