Saturday, May 17, 2008

Censors and police seize video at private screening

Complete videos of the seized film and the seizing have been uploaded. Go to main page.

Censorship enforcement in Singapore sank to a new low today as officers from the Board of Film Censors (a department of the MDA) turned up at Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel's Tulip Room to demand that organisers of a film screening hand over the video for classification.

The invitation for the screening of "One Nation Under Lee" had been circulated via email with the explicit note that it was to be a private function. Still, the BFC delivered a letter to the Singapore Democratic Party's office last night, warning the organisers that Section 14 of Films Act requires all films (and the Act do mean ALL videos, including those stored on your mobile phone) to be submitted to the Board for classification.

Undeterred, the organisers pressed on with the screening today. Just before it began at 2pm, officers from the Board of Film Censors showed up at the door to serve the reminder. Still, the 45 minute video was screened in its entirety, interrupted periodically by raised voices outside the hall. Apparently, plainclothes police officers were called in to seize the video as the organisers had refused to budge.

Just as the screening ended, BFC officers were ushered into the hall, given microphones and were told to explain to the audience, numbering about 80, about their intentions. They didn't use the PA system, but were heard uttering something about wanting to seize the video, which were eventually given to them. Minutes later, another government officer came in, muttering about wanting to see the projector. After being repeatedly told that he could not, he left in a puff.

The film itself was surprisingly slick and compelling but the off-screen drama was the highlight for me. Life imiatates art, and vice versa. All in all, a pretty entertaining afternoon.

I'm sure there'll be photos, videos and more reports coming up soon about today's drama. Check back for link updates.


Film on Lee Kuan Yew seized by MDA

Government officials disrupt private screening of film on LKY

Pictures here

The gatecrashers


This is Singapore

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