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The Media

Those who have heard horror stories of media controls and censorship in Singapore may be surprised to know that the island is well-exposed to information from around the world and is set to become a media, information and communications hub for the region.

Local press

There are eight local newspapers with a combined circulation of 1 million: the Straits Times, the Business Times and the New Paper (English); Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News (Chinese); Berita Harian (Malay); and Tamil Murasu (Tamil). All dailies bring out Sunday editions, except the Business Times and the New Paper. All the local newspapers are owned and printed by the Singapore Press Holdings, and are available from most shops, news stands and roadside vendors. Most of the local newspapers have also gone online at the AsiaOne web site.

The three English papers retail at prices ranging from 60 to 85 cents.

  • The Straits Times is the newspaper of record, carrying reports and analysis of major foreign and local events. You may find the presentation a bit staid if you're used to more fanciful journalistic writing.
  • The Business Times covers business news, including items on companies, markets, the shipping line and executive lifestyle.
  • The New Paper is the local tabloid--with colourful photos and sensationalistic pieces on anything from disasters to crime and vice. Soccer fans will tell you that they buy the New Paper for its sports coverage.

For subscriptions, contact:

Singapore Press Holdings Newspaper Services Division
Circulation Department, Subscription Section
News Centre, Level 1
82 Genting Lane
Singapore 349567
Tel: 6749-2577
Fax: 6744-4875 / 6746-1925
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

You can subscribe for a fixed period of 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Subscriptions have to be pre-paid, and are effected in four working days. For early cancellations, you need to give seven days' advance notice. There is an administrative fee of $5 if you cancel early, and if you switch publications. Subscription rates exclude the local delivery fee, which is payable to the news vendor monthly, if applicable.If your newspapers do not arrive, contact SPH Customer Service at 6749-2577.
You can also suspend delivery for periods while you are away. You need to give at least five working days' advance notice (Fax: 6744-4875 or Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )'; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text5232 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Suspensions must be for a minimum of seven issues, and you need to provide the re-start date for delivery.
The local magazine scene is a bit more diverse, with productions such as Directions and Singapore Business (business); 8 Days, Big O, ETC and Lime (entertainment); Home & D�cor and Young Parents (lifestyle); and Female and Her World (women's). Most are available through subscription or at major news stands.

Foreign press

Estimates for 1996 put the number of foreign publications, journals and magazines at 4,000. Those that have set up bureaus in Singapore include: Asahi Shimbun, Asia Inc, Asia Times, Asian Wall Street Journal, Asiaweek, Handelsblatt, International Herald Tribune, Nihon Keizai Shimbun and South China Morning Post.

Some contact numbers for subscription queries:

  • Asahi Shimbun Tel: 6225-0667, Fax: 6225-0709
  • Asian Wall Street Journal Tel: 2626-1681
  • Economist Tel: 6534-5166, Fax: 6534-5066
  • International Herald Tribune Tel: 6749-4650
  • Jakarta Post Tel: 6336-1725, Fax: 6336-1198
  • Nihon Keizai Shimbun Tel: 6339-6100
  • USA Today Tel: 6297-2933, Fax: 6296-5446

Most bookshops and news stands will carry a good spread of magazines, journals and periodicals--from newsy items like Asiaweek, Forbes, National Geographic, Newsweek, Reader's Digest and US News & World Reports, to more glossy offerings like Esquire, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Women's Weekly.If you're in the Holland Village area, a popular magazine pick-up point among expats and locals is the news stand at the front corner of the Holland Road Shopping Centre, opposite the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

Local broadcasting

There are two local television stations: the Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) and Television Twelve (TV12).TCS runs channels 5 and 8, both 24-hour channels, reaching out to more than 90 per cent of the population.In March 1999, a third 24-hour news channel, Channel News Asia, was added to cater specifically to current affairs.
Channel 5 features English news and entertainment programmes. You'll find familiar favourites like the X-Files, ER and Friends, although these are sometimes a season or two behind. TCS has also had some luck with popular local productions such as Extraordinary People (a current affairs programme), Growing Up (a nostalgia drama set in 1960s' Singapore) and Under One Roof (a sitcom).
Channel 8 is dedicated to Chinese programmes. You might want to catch these to pick up some Mandarin phrases--most programmes do come with English subtitles.
TCS has also brought some of its programmes on the Internet with its MediaCity web site.
TV12 has two channels, Prime and Premiere 12, and positions itself as a station for arts and culture programmes.
Prime 12 is the language channel offering programmes in Malay, Tamil, Japanese, French, German, Italian and Spanish, as well as Chinese opera.
Premiere 12 carries sports, documentaries and arthouse movies.

Satellite

Private satellite dishes are not allowed in Singapore. The international satellite broadcasters based in Singapore (including ABN, Discovery Asia, ESPN, HBO, MTV and Walt Disney) are only using Singapore as an uplink station to beam to other markets and to local households via cable.

Radio

Radio is quite big in Singapore. There are four stations: the Radio Corporation of Singapore (RCS), NTUC Radio Heart, SAFRA Radio and Rediffusion, offering a spread of 19 channels. Popular English channels are Class 95 FM, Power 98 FM, Perfect 10 98.7 FM, and One FM 90.5. The BBC World Service is available on FM 88.9. You can also tune in to Voice of America, Radio Japan, Radio Moscow and Radio Beijing on shortwave.

Radio and TV licences

You will need to get radio and TV licences from the Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) if you install any broadcasting equipment in your home, vehicle, ship or aircraft. It is an offence to operate broadcasting equipment without a valid licence and the penalty is $200. The licence fee structure is as follows:

Licence type 6-month fee Annual fee
Vehicle radio $13.50 $27
Home TV (black and white) - $40
Home TV (colour) - $110

You can apply for a licence at any post office by cash or crossed cheque payable to Singapore Post Private Limited.

  • Alternatively, you can apply to the Singapore Broadcasting Authority by sending an application form and crossed cheque to its Licensing Unit.
  • Those applying for a vehicle radio licence need to bring along their vehicle log card or insurance certificate for verification.
  • A separate licence is required for a radio, monochrome TV or colour TV receiver installed in a motor vehicle or vessel, and should be in the name of the registered vehicle/vessel owner.

For convenience,

  • Vehicle radio licence fees are paid together with road tax to the Land Transport Authority.
  • Household TV licence fees will be paid with property tax to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore beginning January 1998.

You can get a refund if:

  • Your vehicle is/has been de-registered, scrapped, taken off the road, or the radio set has been removed; and
  • The premises where you reside have been legally possessed or demolished.

For queries on licensing matters, contact:

Licensing Unit
Singapore Broadcasting Authority
96 Somerset Road
#08-01 UOL Building
Singapore 238163
Tel: 1800-734-0616 or 6739-0604
Fax: 6738-4142

Cable TV

Cable TV is managed by Singapore Cable Vision (SCV). There are more than 30 channels offering an infotainment smorgasbord of news, documentaries, sports, movies and cartoons, including the offerings of satellite networks. SCV has begun wiring up the island, and all households in public housing estates are expected to be wired by end-1998.
Installation of the basic set-top costs $30.90 and additional setup costs $15.45 (prices with GST). Monthly subscription for the various packages ranges from $3.09 to $33.94 (with GST).

For queries on cable TV, contact:

Singapore Cable Vision
2D Ayer Rajah Crescent
AOS Building
Singapore 139938
Tel: 6773-5088
Fax: 6870-1690
Web: http://www.scv.com.sg

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