The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has imposed a $7,000 fine on SPH Radio for racially insensitive comments made by the free-to-air broadcaster’s Kiss 92 deejays during a programme.
On 11 January 2017, the DJs were discussing about a study by SingHealth Polyclinics, which found that six in 10 Chinese had sufficient sleep, compared with about four in 10 Malays and Indians.
Expressing surprise about the findings, the DJs said that Chinese people had to send their kids to school and work early, and added, “You know why Malays and Indians get less sleep? It’s because they’ve been raised to have fun, party,” according to listeners who had tuned in to the programme.
The comments angered these listeners who said that the DJs had hurt the feelings of Malays and Indians.
DJ Maddy Barber apologised on behalf of the station to listeners for the gaffe, saying, “It was not our intention to hurt or belittle anyone or any race. Most of us on the show, including me, come from a multi racial family, and a tolerant society has always been what we stand for on the show.
“I can understand how, when parts of what was said are taken out of the full context of the repartee among us DJs, they can be misconstrued to mean something we never intended.”
IMDA said, “A key obligation under the (Free-To-Air Radio Programme) Code is for broadcasters to avoid racial and religious stereotyping and ensure that content which denigrates or is likely to offend the sensitivities of any racial or religious group in Singapore is not aired.”
Given the strong influence that radio exerts on the community and its accessibility, IMDA reminds broadcasters of their obligations under the Code.