Home World News Edited Obama Homosexuality Interview Provoked Tension In Singapore

Edited Obama Homosexuality Interview Provoked Tension In Singapore

Cuts to a talkshow interview with US President Barack Obama, in which he addressed attitudes to homosexuality, have provoked a row over media censorship in Singapore.


Comments by Obama in favour of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on The Ellen DeGeneres Show were edited out when the interview aired in Singapore, local press reported.


Appearing in an episode broadcast earlier this month in the United States, Obama complimented lesbian show host Ellen DeGeneres for her contribution to LGBT equality.

“As much as we’ve done with laws and ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ [referring to LGBT admissions to the US military], et cetera, changing hearts and minds – I don’t think anybody has been more influential than you on that,” he said.

Lee Hung Sheng, assistant vice-president of programming for Mediacorp Channel 5, told local broadsheet The Straits Times that these comments had been cut in compliance with Singapore’s Free-To-Air TV programme guidelines.

The programme code states that “all programmes broadcast between 6 am and 10 pm must be suitable for family audiences.” The subject of homosexuality is deemed by Singaporean regulators to be “mature content.”

Homosexuality is outlawed in Singapore, with legislation that criminalizes sex between men, although the government has said that the law will not be actively enforced.

“This unfortunate incident only serves to highlight the futility of media guidelines on LGBT portrayal,” Leow Yangfa, executive director of LGBT-friendly counselling centre Oogachaga in Singapore, told dpa.

“Even as viewers in Singapore are still able to access the segment through online media, it sends a very negative signal to the LGBT community in Singapore,” he said.

Bloggers on LGBT issues and some social media commenters also criticized the edited broadcast, saying there was little evidence the move was supported by public opinion.

The YouTube video of the cut segment has been seen over 2 million times since February 12.

Source: GNA

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