Finas CEO: Censorship for social media content needed to prevent irresponsible advertisements

Recently, a video advertising online gambling in conjunction with Hari Raya festivities went viral, leading to an outcry among many, with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) taking action to remove the video from various platforms.

Now, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, has added that the emergence of inappropriate ads can be attributed to the lack of censorship and government certification for social media content.

The CEO drew comparison with the film and TV industry, where advertisements and content in general are required to be screened by the Film Censorship board to achieve Finas certification—the green light for the ad to be aired. The offending video, of course, went viral over social media, culminating in the arrests of 18 individuals who were involved with two videos concerned. Idham says that these “talents” need to have a “sense of responsibility” when it comes to creating content.

Speaking to Bernama, the Finas CEO explained:

“For content creators on social media they do not have to go through this process and because of that they can release any content without a sense of responsibility and that is what is happening now.

“Following this, it is necessary to review our suggestion to license content broadcast on social media as proposed by Finas last year because the freedom given has been abused.”

In any case, MCMC has confirmed that all forms of online gambling and promotion of online gambling activities fall under the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953. From the 12th of March 2021, MCMC says that plans to empower the police to instruct access blocks on offending sites and platforms have been accelerated. The offending gambling advertisement has been removed from all official platforms since.

As the Finas CEO alluded to, this isn’t the first time we’re talking about potential censorship for social media. Back in mid-2020, Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that all production of films and recordings require a licence under the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Act. This was questioned in some quarters, with the Minister eventually clarifying that the act would need to be improved to take into account the new, digital era of content.

--Source: Soya Cincau

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