SINGAPORE: The Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA) has received the arts entertainment licence application for the RuPaul's Drag Race live show to be held next month and will be assessing it for content classification.
This was revealed in a written response to a parliamentary question filed by Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah, who had asked if the Ministry of Communications and Information had received objections to the performance of the Werq the World live show in Singapore.
She also asked what the criteria for approving such performances were, how IMDA deals with approval and censorship of performances dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues and how IMDA determines the age restriction for audiences for such shows.
Dr Lee told Channel NewsAsia she tabled the question because residents in her ward had expressed concerns about the content of the show and its appropriateness for children.
RuPaul's Drag Race is a reality series featuring drag queens competing for the top spot in a competition through various challenges. The live show is set to make its Singapore debut on Feb 2 at the Kallang Theatre.
Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran said in a written reply that IMDA is guided by the Arts Entertainment Classification Code (AECC) which sets out the classification system and the principles of classification.
Mr Iswaran noted that several similar shows have previously been staged in Singapore, that these shows were classified R18 in view of the mature content and have not attracted much feedback.
There are four classification ratings for arts entertainment - General, Advisory, Advisory 16, and Restricted 18 (R18). Shows rated R18 is age restricted and can only be viewed by those aged 18 and above.
In determining an appropriate rating for a performance, IMDA takes into consideration the overall theme, the content elements, message and impact of the work and its suitability for the different age groups.
Any show with mature themes or content, including LGBT content, would be given a higher classification rating. Content that goes beyond the R18 rating will not be allowed.
For a performance rated higher than General, IMDA will issue a consumer advice to enable the public to make an informed decision, as well as guide parents on the suitability of the content for their children.
The rating and consumer advice issued by IMDA for a performance must be reflected in all of its publicity materials and at ticketing booths and event venues.
IMDA has received the arts entertainment licence application for the RuPaul’s Drag Race show and will assess the performance in accordance with the AECC, he said.
The AECC was developed in consultation with the community and aims to reflect prevailing social norms, protect the young from unsuitable content while enabling adults to make informed viewing choices.
Dr Lee said after the answer to the question had been published that society has widely varying views on such issues.
"After this clarification, the public, whichever side they are on, can have a more informed debate about it," she told Channel NewsAsia.