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SPH signs MOU with NHB to preserve newspaper photographs collection

SPH signs MOU with NHB to preserve newspaper photographs collection

More than 5 million negatives will be transferred and preserved as national heritage

31 October 2000 - Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and National Heritage Board (NHB) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to transfer newspaper photo negatives and digitised images to National Archives of Singapore (NAS), an institution of NHB, for preservation and public access, from its photographs collection of over 10 million negatives, while retaining its copyrights. This is a joint effort by SPH and NHB to preserve Singapore’s national heritage.

SPH is the largest newspaper publisher in Singapore, with 12 titles in the four official languages, including The Straits Times which has been in publication for the last 155 years. The newspaper publisher has embarked on a major project to digitise its vast collection of more than 10 million published and unpublished photographs for preservation.

The Editor-in-Chief of SPH’s English and Malay Newspapers Division, Mr Cheong Yip Seng said, " This collection is an important account of Singapore’s social, economic and political history from the 1950s."

"The photographs in this collection comprise resources from the English and Malay Newspapers Division Resource Library. We want to share it with the public," Mr Cheong added.

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Board (NHB), Mr Lim Siam Kim said, " We are delighted to receive this archival collection, as it will enrich our existing collection of 1.5 million pictures. We are confident that this will be a welcome addition, not only for our national collection but also for researchers and students."

He added that, "By donating this wonderful collection of archival pictures to NAS, SPH has demonstrated that it shares our concern that our nation’s historical records should be well documented and preserved for future generations."

Starting with photographs from 1950, more than 100,000 photographs have so far been reviewed and 20,000 were selected and converted into digital images. About 100,000 to 200,000 selected negatives and digitised images will be transferred to NAS every year.

Public will be able to access the collection via NAS’s website. Most of these photographs can be purchased for personal album or for reproduction. A usage fee will be charged by SPH if the images are used in publications or commercial products including print and non-print media.

From the Picture Press: SPH Photographs Collection (1950-1965)

In conjunction with the signing of MOU, an exhibition titled "From the Picture Press: SPH Photographs Collection (1950 - 1965)" will showcase 162 published and unpublished news photographs covering the period 1950 to 1965 in pre-independence Singapore.

Starting from 1 November till end December, the exhibition held at NAS’s foyer at Canning Rise, will offer a unique opportunity for Singaporeans to journey back in time to experience, a Singapore before its rapid modernisation and transformation to become one of Asia’s most affluent and technologically sophisticated city-states.

"The years between 1950 and 1965 are known for its political unrest as Singapore struggled towards independence. Many of the images that captured the tribulation of the period have appeared in books on our history and public education programmes. Less seen are the images of lives of ordinary people as they went on with their daily existence. This exhibition on the lives of ordinary people attempts to capture the rich arrays and aspects of ordinary lives," said Mr Idris Surattee, Senior Manager of SPH’s English and Malay Newspapers Resource Library.

The exhibition will be held at NAS Foyer. Thereafter, it will start travelling to schools and tertiary institutions in January next year. Schools who are interested to book the exhibition can contact NAS at tel:332 7974.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited and National Heritage Board

For more information, please contact:

Ong Yuin Ling (Ms)
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel 7401001
Fax 747 3835
Julia Chee (Ms)
Assistant Director (Archives)
National Archives of Singapore
Tel 332 7944
Fax 339 3583