The Media Development Authority (MDA) has fined MediaCorp SG$6,300 for breaching the Free – To – Air (FTA) radio programme code.
On 20 March 2014, a deejay on MediaCorp’s Class 95 ‘Morning Express’ programme used a derogatory term (a**hole) to describe a visually impaired woman. The same term was again used on air the following day by the same deejay.
The woman was none other than visually impaired Cassandra Chiu who said she was “refused” service at McDonald’s because she was with her guide dog. When entering the Jurong Park Mcdonald’s outlet, she was yelled at for bringing in her dog.
MDA said that as a FTA radio broadcaster, MediaCorp is expected to observe the requirements laid out in the FTA Radio Programme Code which seeks to protect community interests by ensuring broadcast programming do not offend good taste or decency. The FTA Radio Programme Code specifically states that “obscene or offensive jokes, words, songs dialogue should not be broadcast”.
The fine was issued following members of the public, along with Chiu herself, complaining to the MDA about the offensive remark.
“Radio exerts a strong influence on the community. In Singapore, as a media platform for entertainment, information and education, radio broadcast reaches almost all homes and is easily accessible to all people, including the young. Because of its impact, programmes over radio must at all times maintain a standard that is acceptable to the community and does not offend good taste or decency,” said MDA in a statement.
On the matter, Georgina Chang, MediaCorp VP English Programming, Radio, said, “We absolutely do not condone the use of unacceptable language, and there is a strict internal process to address it.”
She added that the deejay in question Joe Augustin (pictured right) “recognises his lapse in judgment and he has apologised unreservedly on air”.
“Radio is a passionate, and emotional medium, and sometimes in aiming to engage and entertain our listeners live, DJs make mistakes in the manner in which they express themselves. We seek your understanding that it is never of ill intent,” said Chang.