Some time ago, I had received confidential feedback from certain sources, including employees of pay TV providers, that the government was not supportive of Al-Jazeera English channel being carried in Singapore. I wrote to Singapore's media regulators on this. Their reply setting out the government's position follows below. I will now be engaging my own pay TV provider, Starhub, to provide this channel.
If you wish to catch Al-Jazeera on television in Singapore, contact your pay TV provider, show them this reply stating the government's position, and tell them you want Al-Jazeera in Singapore!
REPLY FROM DIRECTOR (CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS), MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, SINGAPORE
Thank you for your email to Minister for the Information, Communications and the Arts.
Pertaining to your feedback that the Al-Jazeera English channel be allowed over our cable television channels, we understand that it was a commercial decision by Al Jazeera to discontinue the channel’s carriage on SingTel’s pay TV service. Al Jazeera itself was reported as saying that “it was a ‘mutual’ decision between Al Jazeera and SingTel for the broadcaster to drop out of the latter's pay TV service. Al Jazeera’s contract with SingTel was coming to an end, and in view of the low number of subscriber households, it saw the need to look into other distribution avenues”. Furthermore, we understand that SingTel also regularly streamlines its content offerings in order to address the demands and requirements of its customers.
The introduction of new pay TV channels and the removal of existing ones are part of the constantly evolving media landscape in Singapore. These are commercial decisions made by the pay TV operators, which periodically review and refine their channel offerings to meet market demands.
We agree that we should have access to a variety of news and information sources. In addition to news on our own free-to-air channels, our pay TV providers currently carry a good number of international news channels.
We would like to thank you for your feedback. We will forward it to the respective pay TV providers for their consideration.
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