Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Films Act - Are you frightened yet?

The Films Act of Singapore seems to be scripted by a group of brilliant horror story writers. Difference is, the horror is REAL. The spooks DO show up in your house.

Every night when I fall asleep, Section 34 of the Films Act hangs like the Sword of Damocles above me.

And do you own any "obscene" films at home? It may apply to you too.

Search and seizure of unlawful films

34. —(1) Any Deputy or Assistant Commissioner of Police, Assistant Superintendent of Police or any Censor, Deputy or Assistant Censor or Inspector of Films, if satisfied upon written information and after such further inquiry as he thinks necessary that any person has in his possession any obscene film or party political film, may without warrant, with such assistance and by such force as is necessary, by night or by day, enter and search any place where he has reason to believe the film is kept, seize the film and any equipment used in the exhibition, making or reproduction of the film and take into custody any person reasonably believed to be in possession thereof.
[10/98]

(2) Any film, and any equipment used in the exhibition, making or reproduction of the film, in respect of which any person has been convicted under section 29, 30, 31 or 33 shall be forfeited and shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of in such manner as the Minister may direct.

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Section 34 is not the only provision in the Films Act that empowers the police to raid your homes. If you are in possession of any uncensored, unlicensed or unauthorised films in your premises, the following will apply.

Penalty for possession, exhibition or distribution of uncensored films
21.
—(1) Any person who —

(a) has in his possession;

(b) exhibits or distributes; or

(c) reproduces,

any film without a valid certificate, approving the exhibition of the film, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction —

(i) in respect of an offence under paragraph (a), to a fine of not less than $100 for each such film that he had in his possession (but not to exceed in the aggregate $20,000); and

(ii) in respect of an offence under paragraph (b) or (c), to a fine of not less than $500 for each such film he had exhibited, distributed or reproduced, as the case may be (but not to exceed in the aggregate $40,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

(2) Any Censor and any Deputy or Assistant Censor and any Inspector of Films may at all reasonable times enter any place in which any film is kept or is being or is about to be exhibited and may examine the film, and if on such examination he has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under this section has been or is about to be committed in respect of the film he may seize the film and any equipment used in the commission of the offence.

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All local filmmakers should be made aware of Section 12.


Films made in Singapore to be deposited in approved warehouse
12. —(1) The owner of any film made in Singapore shall, within 7 days after the making of the film, deposit the film in a warehouse approved for this purpose by the Board.
(2) Any person who fails to deposit the film in accordance with subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000.

___________________________________________________________________________

And what happens when you don't deposit your film in the warehouse?

Search for unauthorised films and arrest of persons
23.
—(1) Whenever a Deputy or an Assistant Commissioner of Police or an Assistant Superintendent of Police is satisfied upon written information and after any further inquiry which he may think necessary that any film —

(a) which has not been —

(i) deposited in an approved warehouse as required by section 12 or 13;

(ii) returned to the Board as required by section 14 (4); or

(iii) approved for exhibition under section 15 or 26 (4);

(b) in respect of which the certificate issued therefor has ceased to be valid under section 20; or

(c) which has been altered in any way after a certificate in respect of the film was issued,

has been or is being exhibited or kept in any place, he may issue a warrant directed to any police officer to enter and search that place and seize the film and to take into custody any person reasonably believed to be guilty of an offence by reason of failure to deposit or to return the film or by reason of such possession or exhibition. [10/98]

(2) A Deputy or an Assistant Commissioner of Police or an Assistant Superintendent of Police may without warrant, with such assistance and by such force as is necessary, by night or by day, himself do what he may authorise any police officer to do under subsection (1) in either of the following cases:

(a) if he has personal knowledge of such facts as satisfy him that there are sufficient grounds for a search;

(b) if he receives information orally in such circumstances that the object of a search would in his opinion be defeated by the delay necessary for reducing the information to writing except that the name and address of the person giving the information is known to or ascertained by him before he acts upon the information.

______________________________________________________________________


Politics or Porn? Which one is safer?

Do you know that the penalties for making party political films is heavier than that of pornograpghy?

Possession of obscene films
30. —(1) Any person who has in his possession any obscene film shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $500 for each such film he had in his possession (but not to exceed in the aggregate $20,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
[10/98]

(2) Any person who has in his possession any obscene film knowing or having reasonable cause to believe the film to be obscene shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction —

(a) to a fine of not less than $10,000 but not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both; and

Advertising obscene films
31. —(1) Any person who, for the purposes of distributing or exhibiting any obscene film to any other person, advertises the film by any means shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $2,000 but not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
[10/98]

(2) Any person who, for the purposes of distributing or exhibiting any obscene film to any other person, advertises the film by any means knowing or having reasonable cause to believe the film to be obscene shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction —

(a) to a fine of not less than $10,000 but not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both; and


(a) to a fine of $1,000 for each such film in his possession (but not to exceed in the aggregate $40,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both;


Making, distribution and exhibition of party political films
33. Any person who —

(a) imports any party political film;

(b) makes or reproduces any party political film;

(c) distributes, or has in his possession for the purposes of distributing, to any other person any party political film; or

(d) exhibits, or has in his possession for the purposes of exhibiting, to any other person any party political film,

knowing or having reasonable cause to believe the film to be a party political film shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

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But even in the heart of darkness, there's a glimmer of light. They provide exemptions.

Exemptions
40.
—(1) This Act shall not apply to —

(a) any film sponsored by the Government;

(b) any film, not being an obscene film or a party political film or any feature, commercial, documentary or overseas television serial film, which is made by an individual and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition; and

(c) any film reproduced from local television programmes and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition.
[10/98]

(2) The Minister may, subject to such conditions as he thinks fit, exempt any person or class of persons or any film or class of films from all or any of the provisions of this Act.

(3) An exemption granted under this section may be withdrawn at any time.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow unbelievable isn't it.
I thought Singapore is an advanced country, these have these film laws that look like they are from 1920s.

Comical Ah Lee said...

It's MDA, the Media Dumbfuck Arses and their blinkered notion of a media hub. LOL!

Singapore Slave said...

Martyn See,

Are you stupid or acting stupid? This is singapore. Don't tell me you expect to be able to express yourself freely okay. You're not born yesterday right? Since when did Freedom of Expression existed in Singapore?

So nothing that happened to you surprised me at all. You should know what to expect in Singapore. You should consider yourself lucky they have not jailed you yet.

Don't delude yourself that there is freedom in Singapore. If you want freedom and if it means anything to you, why don't you migrate to say Canada, Australia or England where your films can be shown.

Every Singaporean adult should know that he or she is just a slave in our society. Slaves are not allowed to talk back to the Master. In Singapore, you will be better off to accept your fate, than to fight it. That is clear to everyone except clowns like you and CSJ.

Aidil Omar said...

Singapore Slave, freedom of expression DOES exist in Singapore. It is quite clearly expressed in the Constitution.

And for being a slave, you shouldn't talk so much. We Singaporeans have rights just like citizens of democratic nations.

Why is why true Singaporeans use their real identity in making comments. Unlike a slave like yourself.