Raya-themed gambling ad: Don’t abuse media freedom, says Saifuddin


PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The government has always taken the stand of defending media freedom including social media but it should not be abused, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Referring to the advertisement promoting gambling with a Hari Raya theme, Saifuddin said even though the government practises media freedom, it is also responsible for taking the appropriate action if there are matters which cross the legal boundary.

"We know in this digital community, it is almost impossible to control everything. So we understand the situation of life in the digital society.

“The government will defend the freedom of the media including social media but there are limits, ” he told a media conference on the Hari Raya-themed gambling advertisement here Sunday (April 18).

The advertisement, which went viral on social media, invites Muslims to gamble to get their funds for “balik kampung” in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is taking down the content with the cooperation of platform providers such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Saifuddin said the advertisement has sparked off various reactions by netizens, which also affected the Muslims who are fasting during Ramadan.

"The dissemination of Raya-themed video with gambling elements or elements against the meaning of ibadah (worship), would affect the peace and tranquility of Muslims. Even non-Muslims would not like such things, ” said Saifuddin.

In this regard, he advised all performers in the video to be wary when accepting offers as police investigation revealed that the individuals involved were not aware about the content of the advertisement.

According to him, the art and culture field is not short of jobs for production such as dramas and films.

"Under KKMM (Communications and Multimedia Ministry) and Motac (Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry), more programmes are starting now and Finas (National Film Development Corporation Malaysia) has announced that many productions are ongoing. So do not use the excuse of not having jobs, ” he said.

Saifuddin said his ministry would leave it to police to investigate the advertisement.

MCMC chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek said so far, 61 contents have been ordered to be taken down from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which are based overseas.

He said MCMC is giving its full cooperation to police over the advertisement and called on Malaysians not to disseminate it.

Finas chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri said the corporation has not received any application from the advertisement production crew to produce the advertisement.

He said advertisements must have the Certificate of Advertising Made in Malaysia (MIM) issued by Finas.

On the total number of productions undergoing shooting, Ahmad Idham said Finas has issued more than 200 Filming Authentication Certificates (SPP) to production crews. - Bernama

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