SINGAPORE – 15 AUG 2023
1. As the 2023 Presidential Election goes into the campaigning period, the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the Elections Department would like to remind public on the rules and prohibitions under the law pertaining to Party Political Films, Online Election Advertising, Election Surveys and Exit Polls.
Prohibition of Party Political Films
2. In using film as a medium to conduct political discourse, all persons should respect the need to keep politics rational and grounded on facts. This ensures that the political debate in Singapore is conducted in a responsible and dignified manner.
3. All persons are reminded that they must not make, exhibit, or distribute party political films (PPFs). PPFs include films which are made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore, such as those intended or likely to affect voting in any political election in Singapore. Examples of PPFs are films which employ dramatisation and/or animation to distort, sensationalise or mislead viewers on political matters.
4. Persons who make or publish PPFs may be subjected to investigations and prosecution under the Films Act (FA). The law, however, exempts certain types of political films, these include:
- Live recordings of events held in accordance with the law (e.g. recordings of campaigning activities);
- Factual documentaries, biographies or autobiographies;
- Candidate’s declaration of policies or ideology on the basis of which the candidate will seek to be elected and produced by or on behalf of the candidate; and
- Films made solely for the purpose of reporting news by a licensed broadcasting service.
5. When in doubt over the contents of a film, please consult the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
6. Films uploaded online should also comply with the Internet Code of Practice (ICOP).
Illegal online election advertising by non-candidates / election agents
7. All persons are reminded that while Singapore Citizens can put up unpaid OEA on their own accord except on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day, the publishing of paid OEA is reserved for candidates and their election agents. A non-candidate/election agent can only publish paid OEA if he receives written authorisation from a candidate or election agent from Nomination Day. All paid OEA must be declared to the Returning Officer by the candidate or election agent, and abide by the published-by requirements. This ensures accountability and prevents the use of paid advertisements as a conduit for foreign interference in the elections process, or to bypass the election expense limits for candidates.
8. Under the published-by requirements, all OEA, whether paid or unpaid, must display clearly the full names of all persons who played an active role in publishing it.1 This comprises persons (a) responsible for publishing the OEA, (b) who approved the content of the OEA, and (c) who directed that the OEA be published. In addition, paid OEA is required to include a message or statement to indicate that it has been sponsored or paid for, and the full names of the persons who paid for it.
9. Election advertising (including paid and unpaid OEA) is not allowed on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day. OEA that was already lawfully published before Cooling-off Day and remains unchanged after its publication, need not be taken down. However, republishing existing OEA is considered to be publishing fresh OEA, and is also prohibited on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day. Examples include sharing, resharing, reposting or boosting existing OEA.
10. The outcome of Singapore’s elections must be for Singaporeans alone to decide. Individuals who are not citizens of Singapore are prohibited from taking part in any election activity, and publishing or displaying any election advertising during the election period, i.e., from Writ to Polling Day.
Ban on election surveys and exit polls
12. An election survey is an opinion survey of how voters will vote at an election or of the preferences of voters respecting any candidate or any issue with which an identifiable candidate is associated at an election. The publication of the results of an election survey, or any content purporting to the results of an election survey, is not allowed during the election period.
13. The publication of the results of an exit poll is also not allowed during the election period. An exit poll is any (a) statement on how voters have voted at the election, or (b) forecast on the result of the election, where the statement or forecast is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information from voters after they have voted.
About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on LinkedIn (@IMDA), Facebook (@IMDAsg) and Instagram (@IMDAsg).