MCI’s response to PQ on RuPauls' Drag Race show
Parliament Sitting on 15 January 2019
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
*5. Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether the Ministry has received objections to the performance of the RuPauls’ Drag Race show in Singapore; (b) what are the criteria for approving such performances; (c) how does the Ministry deal with approval and censorship of performances dealing with LGBT issues; and (d) how is the age restriction for the audience determined for such shows.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) administers the regulatory regime for Arts Entertainment (AE) which include plays, variety shows, and art exhibitions. In assessing and classifying an AE, IMDA is guided by the Arts Entertainment Classification Code (AECC) which sets out the classification system and the principles of classification. The AECC was developed in consultation with the community and aims to reflect prevailing social norms, protect the young from unsuitable content while enabling adults to make informed viewing choices.
There are four classification ratings for AE: (i) General; (ii) Advisory; (iii) Advisory 16; and (iv) Restricted 18 (R18). An AE rated R18 is age restricted and can only be viewed by those aged 18 and above.
In determining an appropriate rating for an AE, IMDA takes into consideration the overall theme, the content elements, message and impact of the work and its suitability for the different age groups. An AE which deals with a more mature theme or content including LGBT content, would be given a higher classification rating. Content that goes beyond the R18 rating will not be allowed. For an AE rated higher than “General”, IMDA will issue a consumer advice to highlight content elements within the AE to enable the public to make an informed decision, as well as guide parents on the suitability of the AE for their children. The rating and consumer advice issued by IMDA for an AE must be reflected in all of its publicity materials and at ticketing booths and event venues.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is a variety show and similar shows have been staged previously in Singapore. Past shows have generally been classified R18 in view of the mature content and have not attracted much feedback. IMDA has received the AE licence application for the RuPaul’s Drag Race show to be held in February 2019 and will assess the performance in accordance with the AECC.