A gay couple stole the limelight on Live TV on what the world deemed straight-laced Singapore media when they kissed behind the CNA journalist reporting at the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
It happened during a live news report by the 24-hour multinational news television channel’s Beijing correspondent Low MinMin at a bar in Beijing, thronged by eager fans. The clip has since gone viral in Singapore where broadcasting codes restrict content that promotes LGBTQ+ lifestyles.
The kiss has apparently been cut from the version of the report by CNA on its website but on TikTok, it had already garnered almost 900,000 views. One user even called this “an act of revolution”.
The guidelines from the Infocomm Media Development Authority for both free-to-air and subscription TV say that programmes depicting alternative sexualities should be sensitive to community values.
The most recent kiss that was censored on TV in the island state was on on cable channel AXN. The kiss between CIA agent Kate Whistler, played by Tori Anderson, and NCIS officer Lucy Tara, played by Yasmine Al-bustami, was in episode 11 of the latest season of NCIS Hawai’i.
In 2008, the now defunct cable television operator Starhub Cable Vision (SCV) was fined S$10,000 for airing a commercial of a Mandarin pop music video which showed two women kissing. The commercial promoting a song by pop singer Olivia Yan was aired on MTV Mandarin Channel on 26 and 28 November 2007.
The then Media Development Authority (MDA) said in a statement on its website that “romanticised scenes of two girls kissing were shown and it portrayed the relationship as acceptable”.
The statement added that the scenes breached TV advertising guidelines, which disallow advertisements that condone homosexuality.
The year before that, MediaCorp TV5 was fined S$5,000 for also airing a kissing scene between two women in an episode of the US series “Without a Trace” on 15 March 2007. MDA sought MediaCorp TV’s explanation for the breach, and was informed that the scene was included “as a result of an editing error”.