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MediaCorp TV fined for breaching Programme Code in showing details of drug abuse

Dated: 1 December 2006

MediaCorp TV has been fined by the Media Development Authority (MDA) for showing detailed footage of how the drug Subutex is prepared for consumption on Channels 8 and U on 10 August 2006.

The footage which was part of a News report on the regulation of Subutex, included a detailed visual sequence, with accompanying commentary of how the drug, Subutex, is prepared. Scenes which showed how the drug cocktail is concocted before taken into the body via intravenous injection were featured.

MDA is of the view that the impact of showing such detailed drug preparation for abuse on viewers, especially youths, over nationwide television, cannot be disregarded. This is particularly pertinent as the Chinese News bulletins, which cater to the mass audiences, can reach up to 500 000 viewers.

The footage was therefore found to be in breach of the Free-To-Air Television Programme Code as it failed to comply with the guidelines which disallow the detailed depiction of methods of illegal drug-taking. The instructions provided within the footage could have led to drug consumption by imitation, especially among young viewers.

MDA also observed that News Bulletins shown on other television channels on the same day were able to inform viewers of the dangers of Subutex abuse through interviews and case histories that led to the regulation of Subutex.

Taking into account that the footage had breached programme guidelines and MediaCorp TV’s explanation on the matter, MDA found that a financial penalty was warranted and issued MediaCorp TV a fine of $4,000. MediaCorp TV has since paid the fine"