A clip of two men passionately kissing in the background of a live news report inadvertently bypassed Singapore’s ban on LGBT content.
In the video, a man poses for the camera after kissing another man for a few seconds. The men were captured kissing behind a Channel News Asia (CNA) reporter during the television channel’s live coverage of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, reported The Guardian.
The now-viral video did, however, find a welcoming audience on TikTok, where it has been viewed over 1 million times. Commenters celebrated the act, with one user calling it “an act of revolution.” The video was also widely shared on the Chinese platform Weibo.
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“We don’t know who this guy is, of course, so we don’t know if he knew they were kissing for CNA specifically or just a camera in general. But the defiance of it, the joy that comes with being able to show off your partner and the confidence in getting to be yourself as well, the combination would have naturally spoken to a lot of queer people within the country as well,” said a representative of anti-discrimination student group Kaleidoscope NTU from Nanyang Technological University.
In the guidelines set by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority for subscription and free-to-air TV, content that displays “alternative sexualities, e.g., homosexuality, should be sensitive to community values.” Meanwhile, content that promotes homosexuality is considered as “refused classification material.” Additionally, the content code for free-to-air radio services in Singapore groups LGBT content with content about incest and paedophilia, recommending that “their treatment [in broadcasted programs] should not in any way promote, justify or encourage such lifestyles.”
However, according to LGBT youth support group Young Out Here co-founder Benjamin Xue, younger generations who consume online content are able to bypass such censorship since it only covers free-to-air TV.
Xue noted that this growing access to online content may add to an increasing gap in perspectives since the younger generations’ “parents, their grandparents and the rest of society are not viewing the same lens.”