ASAS clarifies decision process on Pink Dot ad, leaves some questions unanswered
How is 'public sensitivities' and 'public sentiments' defined?
While Singaporeans were grappled by the Lee siblings’ spat yesterday (June 14), the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) came out with a statement clarifying their decision-making processes on Pink Dot ads carrying the “supporting the freedom to love” tagline.
ASAS said that they had requested for the Pink Dot ads at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard to be amended after complaints were received from Facebook group We Are Against Pink Dot Singapore, which sparked calls to report the matter to the police. They had also received complaints from an undisclosed source.
The ad authority reiterated in its statement that ads in public spaces should be “prepared with a sense of responsibility to public sentiments”, and avoid contributing to “heightened public sensitivities” – similar to what they had already mentioned previously.
Nonetheless, ASAS reaffirmed that the Pink Dot ads did nothing wrong, nor did it go against “family values” as laid out in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP).
In any case, ASAS left it to the Pink Dot organisers to decide on whether to remove the “supporting the freedom to love” tagline.
No vested interests?
ASAS Chairman Tan Sze Wee explained that the ad authority’s decisions on complaints and feedback were put to a vote by its 27 council members and that the final decision would be adopted based on a simple majority.
When the votes are equally divided, the chairman will make the decision. This decision-making process is reflected on ASAS’ website as well.
Despite the latest statement, there is still no clarification on the definition of “public sensitivities” and “public sentiments”, and little explanation on what exactly warranted the advice for the Pink Dot tagline’s removal, even though the ad did not flout the SCAP.
Interestingly, the statement also took the opportunity to reiterate that any member with a vested interest must “immediately declare that interest and be absent from all deliberations”.
However, no comment was made about Tan’s involvement with the WAAPD Facebook group, and we still don’t quite know what happens if the Chairman himself has vested interests.
Top photo by Bjorn Yeo