Singapore, 21 May 2003 - The SARS Channel was officially launched at 6pm today by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on SARS.   The channel is a joint public service project by StarHub, MediaCorp and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and is supported by DBS, POSB, NTUC Fairprice, NTUC Income, NTUC Healthcare and NTUC Foodfare. 


The SARS Channel, a multilingual channel, will broadcast only programmes related to SARS.  It aims to inform and educate Singaporeans on all aspects of SARS so that they can better overcome it. 


All SARS-related programmes that have been aired on MediaCorp TV and SPH MediaWorks channels will be televised on the SARS Channel. This will give the public, especially those who have missed the earlier telecasts, an opportunity to watch these programmes again. 


Among programmes that will be carried on the SARS Channel include Tears & Fears, Living With SARS, Not Just Another Flu, Everyone's Talking and Air Your Views. There will also be fast facts on SARS, forums and current affairs programmes, as well as speeches by the Prime Minister, the Senior Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers and other Ministers. In addition, viewers will be kept up-to-date with the local and regional SARS situation through news updates from the local broadcasters.


The channel will also air fillers, educational messages and the 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.


Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister, Prime Minister's Office and Secretary-General, NTUC, said, "The key to keeping SARS at bay is full participation by the people. For this to happen, we have to reach out to all of them. It seems so obvious that we have the means - through TV! Then we can reach out to people in their living rooms using different languages and dialects. People can watch when it is convenient for them.  I'm so glad the media groups have come together to make this happen.  The speed is amazing! The NTUC group is pleased to be part of this effort, through NTUC FairPrice, NTUC Income, NTUC Healthcare and NTUC Foodfare."


"People throughout Singapore have come together to battle SARS.  The SARS Channel, through public information and education, will help ensure that we don't let our guard down against a re-infection by SARS or other similar viruses. We hope it becomes a 'must watch channel'.  Our sponsorship is only one of several DBS initiatives to help SARS affected individuals and companies," said Mr Jackson Tai, DBS' Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.


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.


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.

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, till 27 May 2003.



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