SINGAPORE: The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Sunday (Jun 28) that political parties and candidates involved in the general election are not required to submit scripts for online campaigning.
"Political parties and candidates can carry out campaigning on the Internet. There is no requirement to submit their scripts for such Internet campaigning activities, including online rallies," IMDA said in an article on the gov.sg website.
The article was published a day after the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) raised concerns over having to submit scripts for e-rallies two days in advance.
TODAYonline reported that the PSP’s organising secretary Michael Chua found such a requirement “disturbing” and “disconcerting”, pointing out that candidates and speakers at live rallies could present their ideas directly to voters and residents without being vetted ahead of time. He was speaking during a walkabout at Holland Village.
Political parties will have to rely heavily on online platforms during the campaign period, as physical rallies and large gatherings are not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
READ: GE2020: Constituency political broadcasts to start from Jul 3; keep safe distance when campaigning, says ELD
Up to 10 livestreaming venues will be provided each day by the Government for online rallies from Jul 1 to Jul 8.
Political parties that field at least six candidates are also entitled to Party Political Broadcasts (PPB), which are scheduled on Jul 2 and Jul 9, from 7pm onwards. These will be broadcast on 19 TV and radio channels.
"Mediacorp is required to have political parties submit their scripts ahead of recording their PPBs on TV," IMDA said."Parties and candidates have also been briefed on this during the briefing on Friday 26 June, 2020."
“This is to ensure that contents do not contain libellous statements or statements that may cause racial or religious tensions,” the authority added. “This has been the same arrangement in place since the 1980s.
“Political parties and candidates should conduct election campaigning in a responsible and dignified manner that befits the seriousness of the election process.”
In addition to PPBs, Constituency Political Broadcasts, which are pre-recorded, will be aired on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 from Jul 3, from 7pm onwards.
Candidates in a Single Member Constituency (SMC) will each get three minutes of airtime, a team contesting a four-member Group Representation Constituency (GRC) will get 12 minutes, while a group of candidates for a five-member GRC will get 15 minutes to speak.