By and large, people find the current regulation of film and arts content appropriate, and among those who find it either too relaxed or restrictive, it has to do with their age and whether they are parents.
A poll of 1,500 Singapore residents aged above 15 by government feedback unit Reach showed that six in 10 approved of current regulations, with just 6 per cent finding them either too restrictive or relaxed.
Age and parenthood were the main factors accounting for differences in views, said Reach yesterday. Younger people were more likely to find the current regulations restrictive, while older people, specified as those above 40, find them more relaxed.
Those with children were less likely to feel the regulations were restrictive than those without.
People more likely to feel that current regulations were somewhat restrictive tended to be frequent patrons of film and arts performances, those with no children and those who view content regulation as an important issue.
The agency collected the data in the first quarter of this year through telephone interviews.
Respondents who felt that current regulations were too relaxed said there was a need to protect the young from inappropriate content. Some also felt that society was still largely conservative.
On the other hand, those who felt the regulations were too restrictive cited the need for content variety and said audiences could decide for themselves what content was appropriate.
The survey was conducted to canvass public opinion on content regulation. The issue was debated earlier this year after the Media Development Authority (MDA) proposed a scheme to allow arts groups to classify their own performances. A pilot run of the Arts Term Licensing Scheme started last month.
"As values and norms evolve with time, the challenge will be to gradually calibrate film and arts regulation in a manner that the majority in society finds to be balanced," Reach said. This means balancing the views of younger Singaporeans with those of parents and older Singaporeans, it added. Reach will share the survey findings with relevant agencies such as the MDA, it said.
Currently, films are classified into six tiers: G, PG, PG13, NC16, M18 and R21.
Housewife Jane Koe, 62, who has three children, agreed with the regulations but said parents should be more open-minded. "It's more important to communicate with children and explain to them why certain movies are not appropriate for them. With the Internet, you can't hide things from them these days," she said.
This article was published on Aug 21 in The Straits Times.
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