MP asks: Does it mean we need a Finas licence for FB Live, IG and TikTok videos?

KUALA LUMPUR: An unsatisfactory parliamentary reply by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah has raised questions over whether Malaysians are now required to apply for a National Film Development Corporation (Finas) licence for their social media posts if these involve videos.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil (pic) said Saifuddin’s remarks during the Ministerial Question Time in Parliament was worrying, as it could mean that all social media users were now required to have a Finas licence every time they post a video.

“Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook Live, or TikTok, everyone may be affected according to the minister’s interpretation.

“I don’t know whether the minister concerned realises the full implications of his answer.

“Many will ask whether they will be compelled by the minister’s interpretation of the law whenever they post videos on social media, ” he told a press conference on Thursday (July 23).

Fahmi pointed out that in order to acquire a Finas licence, an applicant would require a paid-up capital of RM50,000.

“For MPs who always do Facebook Live, are we now compelled to have a Finas licence? Saifuddin has to be careful with his remarks.”

Fahmi also said Saifuddin’s reply was unsatisfactory when asked whether American dentist Dr Dustin Pfundheller had a Finas licence when he produced videos criticising an Al Jazeera “101 East” report on the treatment of migrant workers by Malaysian authorities.

“That video from Dustin (Pfundheller) uses clips from Al Jazeera – is this a form of copyright breach? It was shared widely by Bernama TV, ” he said.

Pfundheller’s video was praised by some but criticised by media practitioners for being one-sided in his criticism of the Al Jazeera report.

“What about Sugu Pavithra? Does the (Finas) Act apply to them?” said Fahmi, referring to the much-acclaimed YouTube channel comprising S. Pavithra and her husband M. Sugu, which unfortunately came under a cloud recently with Sugu being investigated for bringing a sickle into a hospital, as well as allegedly hitting his wife.

“The minister has to be cognisant of the fact that his answer is unsatisfactory, ” added Fahmi.

"I hope he can give more explanations because the effects of his interpretation may mean that all social media users are now required to acquire a Finas licence.”

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