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Tue 28 May 2002 04:00 AM

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Unified regulator for Singapore

Officials announce creation of Media Development Authority.

Singapore has followed the trend of other Asian governments in the creation of a centralised government regulator for the broadcasting and media sectors.Officials have announced the creation of the Media Development Authority from the merger of the Singapore Broadcasting Authority, the Singapore Film Commission and the Films and Publication Department. The move is part of wider trend by the government to change the regulatory environment. It will have to balance the desire to increase competition without major changes to the conformist social and political stance followed by the two dominant media groups owned by the government - Singapore Press Holdings and the Media Corporation of Singapore.The government will also increase the percentage of foreign ownership permitted in any local broadcast or print operation from three to five per cent; a group will be allowed a maximum of twelve per cent and the government will consider requests to raise this higher.The Chinese, Thai and Indian governments are also currently attempting to rationalise and centralise their broadcasting regulators. Their reasons range from trying to end overlapping duties among different agencies, dealing with the effect of convergent technologies and making their markets more attractive to foreign investors.

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