Content Code amendments to champion consumer interests

(From left) CMCF chairman Datuk Ahmad Izham Omar and executive director Mohd Mustaffa Fazil Mohd Abdan

PETALING JAYA: The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF) plans to introduce four new amendments to the current Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code, first published in 2004, for public consultation and feedback.

The four amendments are the classification of broadcast content, allowing advertisements for slimming products and services with the approval of the Ministry of Health, the scheduling of classified programmes applicable to free-to-air and Pay TV broadcasters, and the introduction of a new provision that strengthens the requirements of privacy in line with the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

“The new amendments represent CMCF’s continuing goals to foster a safer, self-regulating electronic media environment. To that extent, we hope to introduce these four amendments to stay relevant and proactive to the needs of the electronic content industry scene in Malaysia,” said CMCF chairman Datuk Ahmad Izham Omar.

He added that public feedback, particularly from the electronic media sector, is critical in finalising the amendments for inclusion in the Content Code.

According to CMCF executive director Mohd Mustaffa Fazil Mohd Abdan, the new classification of broadcast content is a timely solution in aligning the rating standards with that of the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia, while alleviating confusion about the different rating standards between free-to-air television stations, Pay Television, and other electronic media.

Additionally, there would be an added provision directed at optimising the benefits of parental controls to curb viewing of inappropriate content by minors through self-censorship of offensive materials at any given viewing time belt. 

This aids consumers via determining the right kind of content to be accessed, especially for subscription-based broadcasting.

The amendment on advertisements for slimming products and services is aimed at providing protection for consumers, by making the Ministry of Health’s approval via the Medicine Advertisements Board for such advertisements to be a main requirement. 

A liberalisation from the former stance of an outright ban, this approach also allows for the proper authority’s scrutiny of such products and services before it reaches the consumers.

In keeping with the needs of fast-evolving consumer and industry trends, the proposed amendments reflect an initiative to fill the gaps for consumer protection within the electronic content industry, and emphasise the need for voluntary oversight over content for individuals and organisations. 

“As a precursor to the proposed changes to the Content Code, the CMCF is inviting all Malaysians to share their views on the four new amendments before the changes are officially made and implemented,” noted Izham.

He added: “The public can access the proposed amendments on our website at from May 20 until June 30. Feedback from the public could be channelled via email at; direct messaging at our social media platforms; or, write directly to us via mail or fax.”

Comments could be submitted immediately from the date of publication of the proposed amendments up to 30 June 2019. For enquiries, CMCF can be contacted at its toll-free line at 1-800-88-2623 during office hours. The public may also download the existing Content Code, available in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil from the CMCF website.

CMCF is designated under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to develop, adopt and enforce the Content Code in line with Malaysia’s policies. 

The CMCF’s Complaints Bureau has been addressing issues regarding content over the electronic networked medium since the Content Code came into effect in 2004.
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