MCI reaffirms government’s position on social morms: Higher age rating for LGBT content to remain

marriage, repeal, content, norms

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has reaffirmed the Government’s position that the repeal of S377A does not mean that we are changing the tone of society.

This position also applies to MCI’s policies on media content, MCI said in a media statement.

MCI said its content regulatory approach has to be sensitive to societal norms and values. It will ontinue to take reference from prevailing norms. This means LGBT media content will continue to warrant higher age rating.

MCI and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) regulate media content to protect younger audiences from age-inappropriate content, and at the same time enable mature audiences to make informed choices over a diverse range of content. Media content with higher reach and impact is subject to more stringent requirements.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced during the Mational Day Rally on 21 August the repeal Section 337A of the Penal Code.

“We need to find the right way to reconcile and accommodate both the traditional mores of our society, and the aspirations of gay Singaporeans to be respected and accepted,” he said in his speech.

377A has been constitutionality challenged in the courts on the grounds that it breaches the Equal Protection provision in the Constitution. There is a high risk that it would be struck down by the court in a challenge. PM Lee said it was unwise to ignore such a risk and do nothing.

If Section 377A is overturned in court, the challenge may extend to marriage. And if the challenge to the definition of marriage is successful, same sex marriage could become a reality.

PM Lee said the court is not the forum to decide on such issues. So the Government has decided to pre-emptively repeal 377A while also working to safeguard marriage.

He also noted in his speech that most Singaporeans do not want the repeal to trigger a drastic shift in our societal norms across the board.

“For most, their main concern is what they feel s377A stands for, and what they fear repealing it may quickly lead to. They also worry that this may encourage more aggressive and divisive activism on all sides. This is not only the feeling of those within the religious groups, but is shared by many non-religious people too. Even many Singaporeans who support repeal want to maintain our current family and social norms,” he said.

Mr Lee emphasised that the Government too do not want the repeal to trigger wholesale changes in society.” “We will maintain our current family-oriented approach, and the prevailing norms and values of Singapore society,” he said.

“Hence, even as we repeal s377A, we will uphold and safeguard the institution of marriage. Under the law, only marriages between one man and one woman are recognised in Singapore. Many national policies rely upon this definition of marriage – including public housing, education, adoption rules, advertising standards, film classification. The Government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage, nor these policies,” he added.


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