Parliament Sitting on 5 August 2019
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
40. Assoc Prof Walter Theseira: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information for each of the last three years (a) how many total hours of programming aimed at young children are broadcast on free-to-air television channels in the typical week, broken down by the four official languages; (b) within this, what is the breakdown between educational and commercial entertainment programming; (c) what are some examples of educational programming; and (d) how is the provision and financing of such content aimed at children regulated or monitored.
Over the last three years, free-to-air channels broadcasted about 90 hours of children’s programmes per week. Of these, 6 hours were in Chinese, 78 hours in English, 3 hours in Malay and 4 hours in Tamil. Over the same time period, an average of more than 70% of children’s programmes per week were educational in nature.
2 Some examples of locally-produced educational programmes include:
- Junction Tree: Singapore’s first bilingual series for preschoolers, which uses vocabulary-based learning strategies and original songs to make mother tongue learning fun for young children. The programme was produced in consultation with educators and language experts;
- Shahrukh & Warsan: An International Emmy-nominated history-themed Malay drama series about two children travelling back to the days of Singapore’s founding fathers; and
- Train Your Brain: A Mandarin, info-educational series that adopts an interactive approach and experiments to explore the way the brain works.
3 Mediacorp has made children’s free-to-air content accessible on Toggle. To better engage young viewers on this digital platform, Mediacorp has consolidated children’s programmes across the four languages onto the Toggle Kids’ page. Toggle offers a safe digital environment that parents can trust. Mediacorp has also improved the site such that children can navigate Toggle easily.
4 Content on free-to-air TV channels are self-regulated by the broadcaster based on Codes issued by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (“IMDA”). The Content Code for Nationwide Managed Transmission Linear Television Services Code requires children’s programmes on free-to-air channels to be wholesome and promote good social and moral values, and respect for law and order. For example, coarse language must not be used in children’s programmes, and scenes depicting the consumption of liquor or tobacco products are also disallowed unless an educational point is being made.
5 For children’s programmes, sponsors are not permitted to incorporate their names into programme titles or segments, nor superimpose logos or signs into programmes.