IMDA adopts a co-regulatory approach with the publications industry where industry players are to self-regulate themselves. Publications and audio materials should adhere to the Undesirable Publications Act (UPA) and the relevant content guidelines.
Guidelines for Publications and Audio Materials
Content guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Publications Consultative Panel (PCP) and the industry and are reviewed periodically to reflect prevailing community standards.
Following are the various guidelines for publications and audio materials:
Process of Importing into Singapore
A TradeNet permit is required to import publications or audio materials into Singapore. Importers are to apply for the permit through the online TradeNet System under the Singapore Customs. Supporting documents such as invoices or packing lists stating the titles of the publications or audio materials and the quantity imported, should be attached to the application. Importers may also engage a freight forwarder to apply for a TradeNet permit and declare the consignment through the system for customs clearance on their behalf. When applying for a TradeNet permit, importers are required to indicate the respective Harmonised System Code (HS) and Product code (336.67KB).
Exempted categories of publications are auto-approved in the Tradenet for Customs clearance. These categories include:
- Architecture and Design
- Children’s Books
- Family and Parenting
- Fine Art
- Performing Arts
To view the full list of exempted categories, please click here (270.39KB).
For more information on applying for a TradeNet Permit, please visit the Customs website or contact Singapore Customs at +65 6355 2000.
Registered Importers Scheme
The Registered Importers Scheme aims to facilitate a faster clearance process of publications through the Singapore Customs. Importers registered with the IMDA under the Registered Importers' Scheme are responsible for the content they bring in and need to ensure that publications and audio materials brought into Singapore comply with the UPA and the relevant content guidelines.
Importers may also consult IMDA for advice when in doubt. To do so, importers should use the Publications Online Submission portal under Online Services and submit a sample copy of the publication for review to:
Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
10 Pasir Panjang Road #03-01
Mapletree Business City
Importers may check the status of their submission through the same portal. An e-mail notification from IMDA will be sent updating on the outcome of the review.
IMDA’s decision on publications reviewed is made available on the Registered Importers' Database.
Registered importers are required to keep the following documents for a period of one year and submit when requested by IMDA:
- Cargo clearance permits
- Detailed invoices with name of importer and titles of publications and audio materials imported
IMDA does not pre-vet local publications. Publishers of local publications are expected to be responsible in their reporting and be mindful of social, racial and religious sensitivities. Local lifestyle magazines are required to comply with the Content Guidelines for Local Lifestyle Magazines.
Under the NPPA, local publications which are periodicals require a NPPA (Newspaper and Printing Presses) Permit before distribution. As part of the permit condition, publishers are required to adhere to the applicable guidelines issued together with the permit. The permit is valid for one year, and is subject to renewal.
Requirements for Restricted Publications
IMDA’s decisions on publications reviewed are available in the Registered Importers' Database. Adult interest publications or publications with mature content may be allowed for distribution with appropriate conditions and consumer advice.
Restricted Publications Scheme
Restricted Publications Scheme (RPS) allows the sale of publications that contain mature content which may offend certain segments of the public, but have artistic or educational merit. Examples of such publications include sex manuals and art publications. These publications can be made available to adults while protecting the young through conditions of sale to restrict access.
Restricted Publications should not be promoted through advertising and active marketing. Such publications should also not be easily accessible to children and should be placed on higher shelves, not prominently displayed at shop windows, or singled out for display on a separate shelf or stand Retailers must refrain from selling adult interest publications to the young, and ensure that these publications are placed at higher shelves or at locations that are not easily accessible to the young.
- Adult interest publications must be shrink-wrapped and carry a label with the consumer advice “Unsuitable for the Young” Please refer to the relevant content guidelines for the consumer advice labels specifications.
- Labels should be placed prominently on the top half of a publication’s front cover for clear visibility
- Price or promotional stickers must not be placed over the labels
- Labels must be attached to the publication cover and not the shrink-wrap – this is to ensure that the label remains intact on a publication even when the shrink-wrap is removed