Fifty film-makers In Singapore have signed call for the authorities to reconsider proposed changes to the Films Act.
A key concern is the expanded powers that film censors of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will have in investigating breaches.
Currently, only a few IMDA officers - a censor, a deputy or assistant censor, or an inspector of films - can enter premises without a warrant, and conduct search and seizure over unlawful films, such as obscene or party political films, the paper
With the changes, these powers extend to any classification or licensing officer, who may enter property by breaking doors and windows, and may do so in investigating any breach of the Films Act - not just over unlawful films.
IMDA have claimed its officers have to act quickly to secure evidence of the contraventions while minimising the chances of the suspected offender fleeing the scene. It added that its enforcement officers are adequately trained to carry out
investigations in a way that stands up to scrutiny in a court of law.
Public consultation on the proposed changes is due to end on Dec 30 after two extensions. But the 50 film-makers called on IMDA to extend the consultation by another four weeks.
Other proposed amendments include a new scheme allowing some video companies to classify video titles up to a PG13 rating, and a new video games class licence.
Another proposed change gives the government minister responsible for media sole discretion - after consulting a panel - over the outcome of appeals for films that are refused classification for undermining national security. Film-makers want the
current framework retained - where appeals are made to a Films Appeal Committee, consisting of citizens.