MEDIA organisations should always be mindful of the various religious and cultural sensitivities, said the Home Affairs Ministry.
Home Ministry (Publications and Quranic Texts Control Division) assistant enforcement officer Noor Zaman Mohammad pointed out several instances when offending materials could violate the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Printing of Quranic Text Act 1986.
Among the sensitive subjects Noor Zaman highlighted during a talk on Ramadan and fasting for employees of Star Media Group Bhd at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya, were those on religious matters, racial slurs or derogatory stereotyping of a particular community as well as indecent photographs and gestures.
He reiterated that the aim of restricting the publication of offending materials was to preserve the nation’s racial unity and security.
He also said advertisements featuring celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri should be published only a week after the start of Ramadan to show respect for the holy month and those observing the fast.
“Phrases like ‘bergaya-raya’, ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ or anything with a wishing element should be avoided in publications until at least a week after the start of Ramadan,” he added.
The department’s undersecretary Hashimah Nik Jaafar advised media practitioners to verify any information before publishing.
“Write what is factually right. All the information should be verified with the entities concerned,” she said.
Also present at the briefing were Star Media Group editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh, senior consulting editor T. Selva, group editorial business development general manager Tommy Lee, Home Ministry (Publications and Quranic Texts Control Division) deputy secretary Muhammad Naim Idris and principal assistant secretary Ustaz Jafri Abdullah.