Updated: 08/23/2014 02:42

MDA drops Art's Term Licensing Scheme after public feedback

File photo of a performance arts rehearsal (© Photo: ChannelNewsAsia)

File photo of a performance arts rehearsal (Photo: ChannelNewsAsia)

The Media Development Authority of Singapore, MDA, has decided to drop the Arts Term Licensing Scheme from proposed amendments to the Public Entertainments and Meeting Act. 

This is after considering feedback from public consultations, and further engagement with the arts groups. 

The scheme was meant to establish a co-regulatory partnership between the arts sectors and the government. 

And it would have allowed individuals and groups to classify their own performances, such as plays, musicals and concerts with age-appropriate ratings, bearing in mind community standards and expectations. 

When first proposed, however, arts groups voiced strong objections. 

Arts Engage had expressed concerns on fairness and transparency due to the subjective nature of arts classification and penalties associated with misclassification. 

Others who gave feedback said the scheme's approach could allow the arts groups to circumvent the rulings which will lead to exposing the young and impressionable to unsuitable content. 

Explaining its decision, MDA said that arts groups were the intended key beneficiaries of the scheme and it would not be meaningful to roll it out if the majority of arts groups did not find it useful. 

Currently, arts entertainment event organisers have to apply for individual licences for each performance or event, and the classification of the content is undertaken by MDA. 

MDA says it will proceed with other amendments. 

These include updating the definition of arts entertainment to ensure parity between live performances and virtual acts that are streamed for exhibition at public venues. 

The amendments will also streamline the enforcement process by giving MDA powers of investigation for arts entertainment breaches. 

Currently, MDA has to report such violations to the Police for investigation.

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