Singapore, 16 May 2003    - Three local media companies have teamed up in Singapore's nationwide efforts to combat SARS. For the first time ever, StarHub, MediaCorp and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will work together for a joint community project - the launch of the SARS Channel.


The SARS Channel will be officially launched at 6pm on 21 May 2003 (Wednesday), by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on SARS. The channel will be broadcast daily from 12noon to 12midnight thereafter.


The SARS Channel will take the frequency of StarHub CableTV's Preview Channel, which is a non-encrypted channel that can be accessed by all households with cable points, whether they are subscribers or non-subscribers of StarHub CableTV. More than 95 percent of local households have at least one cable point in their homes.


The SARS Channel will re-broadcast programmes aired by MediaCorp and SPH MediaWorks. This will give the public, especially those who have missed the earlier telecasts, an opportunity to watch these programmes again. Many of these are Public Service Broadcast Programmes funded by the Media Development Authority (MDA).


The Channel will also air fillers, educational messages and some latest information and updates on SARS. Viewers can also expect some SARS-related programmes from selected StarHub CableTV's foreign channel partners. These will give local viewers insights into how other countries are handling the SARS outbreak.


The SARS Channel will broadcast only SARS related programmes. It aims to inform and educate Singaporeans on all aspects of SARS so that they can better overcome it. The Channel will be in operation so long as it is needed to fight SARS. Viewers can refer to all main local newspapers for the programme schedule of the SARS Channel.


"StarHub is glad to have yet another opportunity to do our part in this battle against SARS. We believe that increasing the public's knowledge about SARS will better prepare them to guard and fight against this outbreak," said Mr Terry Clontz, CEO and President of StarHub.


Mr Ernest Wong, Group CEO of MediaCorp, said: "SARS impacts deeply our lives and our economy. Its effects are devastating. It is therefore only right for socially responsible media companies like MediaCorp, SPH and StarHub to come together to fight SARS. Personally I find it very satisfying to see our three organisations working so closely together to launch the SARS Channel. There is great team spirit and the energy level is extremely high. The fact that we take only 19 days to launch this channel speaks volumes."


Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH, said: "The SARS problem will be with us for some time but that does not mean that we have to live in its shadow. We can still carry on our normal life by taking the right precautions. As a key media player, SPH has a role in educating the public and raising awareness so that people can be better informed to do the right thing to minimise further spread of SARS."


"The SARS Channel will be a very useful source in providing Singaporeans with the latest information and health alerts on SARS, how best they can deal with it and help allay their anxieties and fears. SPH strongly supports this collective effort to fight SARS."


StarHub CableTV subscribers can enjoy the SARS Channel on Channel 01. Non-subscribers can manually tune their TV sets to Band I/ VHF L/ CH 4/ 62.25Mhz.


The manual tuning-in procedures will vary according to the TV set models, and viewers are advised to refer to their TV operating manuals for specific tuning-in instructions.


The generic tuning-in procedures are:

· Select an unused channel on your TV set

· Identify the function button. This is commonly labelled as MENU, PRESET, INSTALL, P or C

· Press the CHANNEL 'up' or 'down' buttons to scroll to MANUAL TUNE, SEARCH or >>>

· Press VOLUME +/- button (or ENTER) to select, when you see the StarHub CableTV Preview Channel

· Press the CHANNEL 'up' or 'down' buttons to scroll to STORE, MEM or special symbol such as g to store

· Press MENU or PRESET button to exit tuning


Those who require assistance with tuning-in can call the SARS Channel Hotline 1800-PREVIEW or 1800-7738439. The hotline is open from 10am to 12midnight from 16 to 27 May 2003.


More details on the SARS Channel will be announced at the official launch next week.



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