No licence needed for social media videos after all

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 25 Jul 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet has decided that Malaysians do not need a licence to post videos on social media, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

This is a departure from his explanation on June 23, when he informed Parliament that anyone who wants to post or publish videos must have a National Film Development Corporation (Finas) licence.

In the latest press statement, Saifuddin said: “The Cabinet has agreed to uphold freedom of the media and individual freedom on social media.

“Social media users such as those on TikTok and YouTube are free to use the platforms to produce and upload videos as usual without the need to apply for a licence or the fear of being charged under the Finas Act.

“The government will amend the Finas Act 1981 (Act 224) by taking into account the current situation,” he said.

Saifuddin added that the latest statement was “a continuation” from his earlier statement that the Perikatan Nasional government never had any intention to use the Finas Act to curb the personal freedom of any individual on social media.

“The ministry has already begun efforts to amend the Act so that it can be suitable for the current times.

“The amendment process will begin in the near future,” Saifuddin said.

The minister courted controversy on Thursday when he said all film productions, whether from media outlets or personal media, on traditional platforms or even social media required a licence.

Answering a fellow MP’s query in the Dewan Rakyat, Saifuddin said it was compulsory for producers of these films to apply for a Film Production Licence and Film Shooting Certificate regardless of whether they were from a mainstream media outlet or personal media.

He said the ministry, through Finas, monitored film activities in its efforts to preserve and develop the film industry based on the Finas Act 1981.

“Finas issues three types of licences to the film industry – licences to produce, distribute and broadcast films or videos.

“Section 22(1) of the Finas Act reads that no one can take part in any activities to produce, distribute or broadcast any film unless a licence is issued to the person,” said Saifuddin in reply to Wong Shu Qi (PH-Kluang) during Minister’s Question Time on Thursday.

Opposition MPs and netizens took Saifuddin to task over his statement and he rebutted that despite his statement in Parliament, the government had no intention of stifling individual freedom of expression.

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