Singapore’s advertising standards agency, Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), has clarified that Pink Dot SG’s advertisement placed at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard does not contravene its code and its section on “family values”, but it had still recommended that the tag line “Support the Freedom to Love” be removed to avoid stoking public sentiments.

They advised that ads in general should be “prepared with a sense of responsibility to public sentiments” and avoid contributing to “heightened public sensitivities”.

ASAS says it was acting in response to a request after receiving feedback from the ads.

The organizers of Pink Dot 2017 have refused to make any concessions on this matter, although they say they would be open to having a “frank discussion” with the advertising watchdog.

In a statement, ASAS’s chairman Tan Sze Wee had responded and says that the decision to issue its recommendations on the Pink Dot ad was made through a vote.

Prof Tan said: “Members will have one vote, and all decisions will be (made) by a simple majority of the members present. In the event that the votes are divided, the chairman will have a casting vote.

“Any member of Asas who has a vested interest in a dispute must immediately declare that interest and be absent from all deliberations.”

There are currently 27 members in ASAS who have been appointed by their respective organizations. They represent industry players suc as advertising agencies, media owners and government agencies.

ASAS’s charter allows it to rule on disputes and issue sanctions on advertisers or agencies who continually breach Singapore’s advertising code. It can also name errant advertisers and refer them to CASE for action under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, when it comes across recalcitrant advertisers who make false, misleading or unsubstantiated claims.

In 2015, Asas ordered eatery OverEasy Orchard at Liat Towers to remove an ad that was deemed indecent and in breach of the Scap. The ad that featured three scantily clad women exposing their buttocks and the tagline “Seriously sexy buns. Two are better than one. Smack that, Aug 2015” was taken down soon after.

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