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Singapore Relaxes Censorship for OTT Platforms

Singapore’s Media Development Authority has relaxed its rules to allow ‘R21’ rated TV series such as “Game of Thrones” and movies such as “Pulp Fiction” or “Fifty Shades of Grey” to be shown on online streaming services.

Such content must, however, be kept behind parental locks that are accessible only with a PIN code. And users must prove their age.

The new rules were quietly uploaded to the MDA’s website earlier this month under the heading “Information Circular in respect of MDA’s Required Baseline Safeguards for Over-The-Top Content Services Offering R21 Content.”

Before the rule change shows such as “Game of Game of Thrones” had to be cut to fit M18 ratings requirements on OTT services. In 2012 the online video stores operated in Singapore by Apple and Google were found to be streaming R21 content, and were required to take it down.

The new rules are intended to bring OTT platforms in line with the streaming video services provided by pay-TV providers via cable and home Internet connections. They are also an acknowledgement that Singapore’s Internet users frequently navigated onto pirate or overseas sites in order to skirt around the country’s content restrictions.

Local OTT providers had lobbied for such a change and had complained that Netflix, which launched in January in Singapore, was able to screen uncut R21-rated shows including “Orange Is The New Black,” and “Marco Polo” with a PIN code.

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