What You Need to Know about Censorship in Singapore

Perhaps you heard about a recently banned documentary film here in Singapore. The documentary film titled “To Singapore, with Love” is banned because it poses a threat to national security. It was banned on September 10, 2014. The documentary film featured interviews from activists, student leaders and other communists who escaped from Singapore from 1960 to 1980.


Hundredths of Singaporeans are indignant of the ban so they fled to Malaysia to watch the screening. For your information, the Media Development Authority (MDA) is the media regulator here. MDA is in-charge of censorship of films. The censorship essentially marks political, religious and racial films. The distributing (or exhibiting) of films here is ruled by Films Act of 1981.

The films are classified under six ratings for diverse groups of audiences. Here are the ratings:


  • G: G stands for General. These are films suitable for all ages. In other words, anyone can watch it.
  • PG: PG stands for Parental Guidance. There is no age restriction but parents should be there when their young ones watch the film.
  • PG 13: PG 13 stands for Parental Guidance Strongly Cautioned. These films are only suitable for kids thirteen and above.
  • NC 16: NC 16 stands for No Children Under 16. This simply means that no child below 16 can be admitted.
  • M 18: M 18 stands for Mature 18. These films are suitable for individuals 18 and above. These films may contain nudity, coarse language, gore violence and many more.
  • R 21: R 21 stands for Restricted 21. These films are only offered for individuals 21 years and above. These films may contain strong sexual contents, graphic violence and the likes.
  • NAR: NAR stands for Not Allowed for All Ratings/Banned. These films may contain things that can lead to controversies.


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