Dated: 19 August 2010
Broadcasters also urged to maintain language standards and to be more discerning when accepting dramatised advertisements
Local Malay free-to-air TV and radio stations have received the thumbs up for improvements made to the quality of their programmes. Nonetheless, there is still room for doing better, such as in the need to maintain language standards by speaking proper Malay, and to be more discerning when accepting dramatised advertisements which may have a negative impact on community’s social values.
These were among the key observations and recommendations of the Malay Programme Advisory Committee (MPAC), which today released its biennial report for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2010.
The 15-member MPAC -- led by Mr Zainudin Nordin, Mayor, Central Singapore Community Development Council and Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and comprising of members from the Malay community -- advises the Media Development Authority (MDA) on the quality and range of Malay TV and Radio programmes. The Committee also makes recommendations on how programme standards can be improved. As the Committee seeks to represent the views of the Malay community, the MPAC is always mindful of issues that could be deemed sensitive and of concern to it. Members of the Committee therefore bring to MDA’s attention, content on TV and radio that they find to be inappropriate for the Malay community, as well as convey concerns of the man-on-the-street based on the feedback members receive from the ground.
Commenting on MPAC’s recommendations, Mr Zainudin Nordin said: “MPAC is pleased to see that the quality of programming on local Malay TV and radio stations has generally improved over the past two years. Moving forward, the Committee hopes Suria and local production houses can continue to produce high quality dramas that local Malays can be proud of and have the potential to be marketed overseas. At the same time, to remain relevant to audiences, broadcasters should keep abreast of the constantly evolving media environment, and be able to respond quickly to these changes.”
Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer of the MDA said: “MDA is pleased to note that through a series of open dialogues between the MPAC and the broadcasters, significant improvements have been made to the quality of local programmes on Suria. We are heartened to see that Malay language broadcasters have been receptive to the feedback and suggestions given by MPAC members during these dialogues. We like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Zainudin Nordin for his leadership and contribution to MPAC as Chairman for the past four years.”
SUMMARY OF KEY OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1) Suria commended for quality local dramas
MPAC commended MediaCorp’s Suria channel for making significant improvements to the quality of local dramas in recent times. The committee hopes that Suria will continue to partner local production houses to produce high quality dramas. It cited ”1988…Segaris Sinar” as an example of a drama with creative story telling and good moral values, whilst maintaining a high standard of Bahasa Melayu. Dramas with refreshing storylines and new talents were also highlighted. These include “Art &El”, “Cinta Ixora” and “Ratna”. However, while such dramas were able to attract younger audiences, MPAC also reminded Suria not to neglect the needs of the older generation, given Singapore’s rapidly-aging society.
2) Promotion of local music industry
MPAC was pleased with variety programmes like “Pop Agenda”, “Hitz.sg” and “anugerahHitz.sg”, which are notable efforts on Suria’s part to support the local music industry. Such programmes provide a platform for local singers to showcase their talent and receive constructive criticism on how they can improve their marketability in this industry.
The Committee was also pleased with the collaborative effort between Suria, Warna and Ria in organising and producing the first ever award show “anugerahHitz.sg”, which gave recognition to local music, recording artistes and album producers who had excelled in their respective fields.
Other commendable efforts to support the local music industry and unearth new talents in song writing and composition were “Projek Rentak” and “Rentak Singapura”, organised by Warna and Ria, in collaboration with the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS). These programmes provided good platforms to spot and showcase young, promising musical talents who have the potential to enter the Malay entertainment industry.
MPAC also expressed support for StarHub Cable Vision’s events organised by local Malay channel Sensasi. These events, such as the Sweet Charity concert, supported the local talent and entertainment industry. MPAC also singled out for praise other Sensasi initiatives such as the airing of music videos by local talents;and showcasing local musicians in its annual Hari Raya Light Up concert.
3) Notable effort to promote Current Affairs programmes
MPAC recognised the challenges faced by Suria in attracting viewership for its Current Affairs programmes, and noted the channel’s efforts to make these programmes more innovative, appealing and accessible to viewers.
The Committee cited the broadcast of current affairs programme “Akhir Kata” right after the drama “Gerimis Di Hati” as an example of creative juxtaposition which helped to improve viewership and branding of a current affairs programme. “Akhir Kata” discusses the issues explored in “Gerimis Di Hati”.
The Committee also encouraged broadcasters to continue to develop and come up with innovative ways of attracting viewers to watch Current Affairs programmes and retain the quality and quantity of these programmes as they update the community on issues and developments that affect them.
4) Quality local info-ed on Suria and Warna
Suria and Warna were commended for their quality info-ed programmes such as “Singapura Syok” and “Kpak Bing Bing” on Suria, and “Paradigma” on Warna. MPAC was generally pleased with Warna’s programmes and commended Warna for its ability to build rapport between its presenters and listeners.
5) To further explore concepts that appeal to the younger generation
MPAC encouraged Suria to reach out more to the younger audience and explore new concepts for its Current Affairs programme in order to remain relevant to the younger age group, who have higher expectations and demands due to exposure to new and creative programme formats from all over the world.
As for info-educational content on Ria, the Committee encouraged Ria to leverage on its strong following among Malay youth to introduce more programmes on social issues such as those related to sexuality and delinquency. While doing so would be challenging and the topics would have to be carefully managed, the positive impact on its listeners would be worth the effort.
6) On the use of dramatisation in an advertisement on TV and Radio
Touching on areas that broadcasters can improve upon, MPAC was concerned about the dramatisation in advertisements promoting pawnshop services on Suria. Members felt that the advertisements did not consider the social sensitivities of the target audience and could send the wrong message, thus negating efforts to educate the Malay community on the need to be financially prudent.
While the Committee recognised the need for broadcasters to generate commercial returns from advertising and sponsorship revenue, it urged Suria to be discerning when accepting advertisements on products and services which dramatise behaviour or practices that may have a negative impact on social values.
7) Broadcasters have a responsibility to set benchmark for language standards, especially among the young
In light of the declining interest of younger Malays to learn and speak the Malay language, MPAC stressed the need for broadcasters to take steps to address the language proficiency of presenters should they be found to be below par.
While MPAC is aware of the occasional use of English among Ria presenters in an attempt to remain relevant and appealing to younger audiences, the Committee reiterated that Ria has a social responsibility to set an example in the proper use of the Malay language.
8) Sensasi Channel
With StarHub Cable Vision’s Sensasi approaching its third year of operation, members were pleased that the channel has stepped up efforts to increase local and current content and improve its branding. Examples of popular local programmes are “Cinta Fitri”, “Kekasihku Seru” and “Sutera Maya”. MPAC, however, felt that more could be done to create greater awareness of the channel among Malay households. This can be done by including Sensasi in some of StarHub Cable Vision’s publicity materials and efforts.
Appointment of new MPAC Chairman
Dr Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of National Development and Member of Parliament of Sembawang GRC, has been appointed by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) as the Chairman of MPAC for a two-year term starting 1 August 2010. He will be taking over from current Chairman Mr Zainudin Nordin, who will be stepping down after 4 years at the helm.
The MPAC report 2008/2010 can be found at:
The full list of MPAC members can be found at:
Malay Programmes Advisory Committee (MPAC)
The Malay Programmes Advisory Committee (MPAC) was set up in August 1995 to evaluate the content and quality of Malay TV and Radio programmes and their impact on the Malay community in Singapore, as well as make recommendations on their improvement.
Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
Formed in 2003, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) plays a vital role in transforming Singapore into a Global Media City and positioning it at the forefront of the digital media age. MDA spearheads initiatives that promote developments in film, video, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation, media services and Interactive Digital Media. At the same time, in ensuring clear and consistent regulatory policies and guidelines, MDA helps to foster a pro-business environment for industry players and increase media choices for consumers. For more information, visit www.mda.gov.sg and www.smf.sg