Programmes Advisory Committee Encourages Broadcasters to Continue Raising Standards of English Programs

Dated: 25 July 2005

The Programmes Advisory Committee for English TV and Radio Programmes (PACE) released its annual report for the period 1 August 2004 to 15 July 2005.

In the report, PACE recommended :
• Setting up a media training centre to further raise the standards of local productions;
• Extending more educational and quality content for children over the weekends;• Harnessing international events such as the International Olympic Council meeting to put Singapore’s media on the world map;
• Broadcasters come up with interactive formats, including the use of info-com technology, to engage the audience;
• The production of more interactive current affairs dialogues and forums in order to sharpen the cerebral quality of our programmes;
• Providing programmes that recognize and meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated elderly population;
• Implementing more marketing initiatives to increase audience ratings for quality local productions;
• Producing witty and intelligent sitcoms with a higher level sense of humour and do away with slapstick sitcoms;and
• That radio sharpens the Singaporean’s sense of aesthetics through the provision of arts and cultural programmes.

During the year in review, PACE encouraged MediaCorp to continue efforts in raising the standards of English programmes to address concerns that the lack of direct competition could have an impact on the quality of on-air content, particularly in the case of local English entertainment programmes.

The committee emphasised that MediaCorp, in regaining its monopolistic position, should take leadership and produce more quality programmes, supported with strong marketing initiatives, to meet the diverse viewings needs of Singapore’s population instead of catering only to a mass audience.

On the range of entertainment programmes offered, PACE commended MediaCorp TV’s efforts to source for new, quality drama series (e.g. Lost) and introduce new local info-tainment/variety programmes (e.g. Coffee Talks and Hawker Woks). At the same time the committee hopes that Channel 5 can bring back some of the quality drama series which were aired on the previous Channel i (e.g. Life and Six Weeks), as these were a refreshing change to the other local productions on TV.

The committee observed that some local sitcoms contain excessive Singlish and felt this should be avoided as it could give the wrong impression, especially among the young, that Singlish is the standard of spoken English in Singapore.

Members also urged broadcasters to apply the Parental Guidance (PG) label and adequate viewing advisories to programmes where needed. This would serve to alert viewers and assist families with their programme choices especially for programmes with more mature themes or graphic scenes.

For children’s programmes, PACE recommended that more quality educational programmes be scheduled on weekends to widen the range of children’s programmes and add balance to the dominance of commercial entertainment programmes, which tend to focus on adversarial conflict. Though some efforts have been made, more could be done to fill the gap in educational programming for teens aged 12 to 14 years old. Members suggest that broadcasters work with partners to identify and explore pertinent topics of interest to youths.

Arts Central was lauded for broadcasting quality local productions and acquiring good foreign programmes. The channel was commended on efforts to draw in more viewers by re-branding itself as an arts entertainment and lifestyle channel with lighter arts programmes and alternative entertainment programmes like British comedies. At the same time, members stressed that Arts Central should not lose sight of its focus as an arts-dedicated channel. As a step forward, local productions could be improved with more lively presentation styles and with the coverage of a wider range of arts performances and art forms. Quality arts programmes could also be promoted across other channels to attract viewers who do not normally watch such programmes.

While Channel News Asia (CNA) has generally done well to provide viewers with up-to-date reports of newsworthy events, it needs to respond faster to breaking news events such as the recent tsunami tragedy. More could also be done to raise the quality of local current affairs programmes, including having interactive programmes to engage Singaporeans who are becoming more informed and want their views to be heard in discussion issues, as well as introducing more in-depth interview and investigative programmes.

The committee was pleased with the coverage of the 117th International Olympics Council (IOC) meeting but members have continually observed a general lack of support by broadcasters for local sports events even though there is no shortage of home-grown or international sports events held here. Members have recommended boosting the on-air coverage of sports by profiling local sports personalities, introducing a sports magazine programme and interstitials, and highlighting sports at a school level. In addition, partnerships as well as better communication among broadcasters and sports-related agencies should be encouraged to help increase the coverage of and interest in sports events.

PACE observed that the range of English TV programmes targeting the elderly is still wanting as compared to those that are available on the Chinese channels. The viewing interests of this segment of the audience need to be met and TV is an effective tool to communicate information to the elderly. Research could be carried out on programmes that would appeal to this section of the audience and broadcasters could consider introducing programmes interstitials of interest to the elderly.

Overall, the committee is pleased with the present range and quality of the radio programmes available to meet the diverse interests of listeners. The members were heartened that broadcasters have generally acted responsibly in observing broadcast guidelines and community standards.

With expectations that Lush 99.5FM is a form of replacement for the previous arts-dedicated station, Passion 99.5FM, PACE hopes that Lush will be able to beef up its arts related programming as the station has been focussing on lifestyle content instead. For instance, there should be some anchor and concrete arts related programmes on air so that listeners are able to tune in by ‘appointment’ for the latest arts scene happenings. Other radio stations could consider incorporating arts-related programmes segments into their programming as well.

Moving forward, PACE encourages broadcasters to strive for quality broadcast standards in terms of sourcing for and producing quality programmes. The need for programmes to garner ratings should also be balanced with responsible programming. In addition, the committee hopes to see broadcasters fulfilling an educator’s role to raise media standards and appreciation among the public.

The full PACE report is available on the MDA website at

​Note to the Editor :

Ms Claire Chiang, PACE Chairperson, will be available for interviews on the PACE Annual Report 2005. Please contact MDA for arrangements.

For more information, please contact:

Koh June May
Senior Manager
Corporate &Marketing Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel: 6837 9363

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023