6 Aug 2005

Remove all Photos of Shanmugam Murugesu


From Sg Review
An anti-death penalty concert held indoors at the Substation Arts Centre was allowed to go ahead yesterday after police told the organisers to remove all photos of Shanmugam Murugesu, who had been executed after being convicted on alleged drug-trafficking charges.

The organisers duly abided police instructions by blackening out the face of Shanmugum in their photocopied concert flyers. Also printed on the flyer was a list of licensing regulations issued by the police for the concert.


1. Prior and during the event, no imagery of Shanmugum S/O Murugesu or any other convicted individual, who had been executed or is facing execution, shall be used. This is inclusive of any publicity platform/material such as internet website, displays, banners, posters, T-shirts and any other paraphernalia.

2. The organizer shall ensure that participants of the event are also similarly restricted from using imagery of Shanmugum S/O Murugesu or any other convicted individual, who had been executed or is facing execution.

3. The licensee shall take all measures to ensure that no public order such as fights, stampede or damage to property occurs during the performance. He shall deploy sufficient number of security personnel relative to the size and composition of the audience or the number of such personnel stipulated by the licensing officer for crowd control duties. Except for in-house security personnel, security guard deployed for such duties must be from agencies that are credited/certified by the security Association Singapore (SAS) or the association of Certified Security Agencies (ACSA). THe licensee must stop the performance at any time if instructed by the police.

4. Unless waiver is granted by the licensing office, the licensee shall place heavy barricade at least 2 metres away from the the stage or the audience as stipulated by the Licensing Officer to prevent the audience from surging forward to the stage. Sufficient number of security personnel must be deployed to exercise control over the audience. The barricades must be interlocked to ensure that they cannot be easily pushed or moved away from their position.

5. For concerts with performance by transvestite(s), the licensee shall ensure that only those above the age of 18 are admitted.

6. The licensee shall advise the performers to refrain from mingling with the audience, especially if there is a risk of an over-zealous audience. If the performer wishes to come down from the stage to interact with the audience, this should not be more than 15 minutes for the entire performance unless otherwise stipulated by the Licensing Officer. If necessary, the performer must be escorted by sufficient security personnel. The licensee shall also pre-select/limit the number of audience who wish to go on stage to present flowers or perform with the performer.

7. If the licensee wishes to allow dancing by the audience, he shall ensure that there is sufficient area(s) for such dancing. He shall also ensure that the dancing exhibited by the audience is not violent or offensive and that avoids obstructing the view of other audience. He is responsible for ensuring that no public disorder situation arises from such dancing.

8. The licensee shall not sell alcoholic beverages, canned or bottled drinks inside or outside the concert area and ensure that such drinks are not brought into the concert area by the audience.

9. The licensee shall ensure that performers do not carry out indecent acts or make vulgar gestures, actions or remarks during the performance. He shall also ensure that the attire of the performers does not offend the general public, eg. attire which expose the groin, private parts, buttock or female breast(s).

10. The licensee shall ensure that approval is obtained from the Director, Singapore Immigration and registration before allowing any foreign performer to perform.

11. The licensee shall ensure that sounds which are obscene, vulgar or banned in Singapore are not played or performed during the performance.

12. The licensee shall not use pyrotechnics unless approval is obtained from the Licensing Authority under the Arms & Explosives Act.



In response to the above, the organizer questions the reason for conditions 1) and 2). The response from the police licensing officer was that Shanmugum S/O Murugesu (Sam) had received a free and fair trial and was convicted and executed as a consequence of this and that such figures should not be "glorified."

On our further appeal that the organizer was using Sam's picture without the intention of glorifying this individual, the police responded that it was not really the intention behind how the photograph was used that was at stake, stating merely 'you cannot use it'.


atreidai said...

Man, that's a huge number of rules for just one performance.

Anonymous said...

Well, the organisers can argue that image use for perfomances falls under copyrights and reproduction of original pictures rights, which the police does not have ownership over of.

They should use a lawyer to look into this.

Paperman said...

So we can memorialize and 'glorify' the man through song and speech but can't put up his photograph? What next, dear police officers? Ban photographs of opposition candidates during the next elections cos they have the chance to speak and solicit for votes already?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Ted is mistaken. Copyright is one issue; police licensing conditions are another.

The fact that you have the copyright to use a photo does not mean that the police cannot impose conditions relating to your licence to hold an event.

Of course, I do not think well of the police decision to ban Shanumgam's face. My own views are stated here.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, then I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

"that's a huge number of rules for just one performance".

Actually, apart from the first two, it looks like a standard copy/pasted set, probably very familiar to regular concert organisers.

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