CONTENT CODE 2022 REFLECTS THE CHANGING TIMES


According to Mediha, concerns addressed in Content Code 2022 include the need to improve accessibility of content for persons with disabilities, curtail abuse of religion in advertising, and require influencer marketing to adhere to the same standards expected of other advertisers.

Revamped code provides for a competitive, efficient and self-regulating industry in this era

IN a move forward towards regulating content in a digital future, the Content Forum of Malaysia announced the successful registration of the Content Code 2022 – aimed at fostering a robust content landscape in the country where freedom of expression and responsibility can seamlessly coexist.

First established in 2004, the Content Code outlines best practices and ethical standards for the creation and curation of content drawn up by the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, which falls under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Last year, the Content Forum embarked on a mission to revamp the entire Content Code to ensure it remains aligned with global best practices.

This initiative included a massive nationwide public consultation exercise that took place from September to December 2021.

“We are very happy that this Content Code is a result of the contribution from everyone, and not just our members or industry players as these days, everyone is a content consumer as well as content creator,” said Content Forum executive director Mediha Mahmood.

“It enabled us to address various policy gaps, some of which may not have occurred to us if not for the excellent feedback we received.

“At the Content Forum, we believe that policy-making in the content industry benefits greatly from consultation and contribution from all members of society.

“Feedback from the public helped identify several concerns that have been growing recently.

“This includes the need to improve accessibility of content for persons with disabilities (PWD), curtail abuse of religion in advertising, and require influencer marketing to adhere to the same standards expected of other advertisers,” she said.

The revamped Content Code 2022, which was officially registered and effective on June 9, has received commendation from industry practitioners and representatives of the media and advertising industry as a whole.

It primarily includes a review of the best standards and practices relating to electronic content, particularly in relation to advertising, as well as broader implications for various segments of society.

Content Forum chairman Kenny Ong said the updated Content Code could not have come at a better time as the growing number of content creators would benefit greatly from self-regulating their own content with the guidelines in the present Content Code.

“Besides providing a greater, more comprehensive resource for everyone in the content ecosystem to practise self-regulation, the eight key focus areas in the Content Code 2022 are reflective of the changing and evolving times, while highlighting the crucial need to uphold the rights, security and welfare of various segments of the community and stakeholders including women, children, consumers and PWDs.

“The content industry in Malaysia continues to evolve rapidly, and has now become an exceptionally intricate web of content creators and consumers.

“We are truly grateful to everyone for taking part in revamping the Content Code. This has proven that with everyone’s involvement, we can indeed produce a Content Code that balances creativity, innovation and healthy industry growth while aligning it with Malaysian culture, harmony and values,” he said.

MCMC lauds the effort and initiative of the Content Forum in exercising its role as a self-regulatory organisation and industry forum designated under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (the CMA98).

“We recognise the Content Forum’s commitment to engage in continuous and meaningful dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. We trust this ensures the Content Code remains not only relevant, but also progressive,” said the MCMC.

“This is also in line with the greater vision of the MCMC to establish a competitive, efficient and increasingly self-regulating industry to stay ahead of changing times.

“We hope that there is greater awareness of self-regulation via the Content Code as it is also used as a reference for the interpretation of offences under Section 211 and Section 233 of the CMA98.”

The CMA98 refers to content which is “indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character”, and the Content Code provides a better understanding of the intepretation of these elements.

For example, under Content Code 2022, irresponsible and unethical sharing of news relating to suicide would be considered “menacing” as it poses a risk of suicide contagion.

The progressive nature of the new Content Code is reflected in several of its new provisions, for example, the use of virtual influencers. A new provision has been introduced, that requires the use of virtual influencers must be disclosed to consumers to ensure they are not misled into believing they are interacting with a real person.

For more information on the Content Forum and the Content Code, visit https://contentforum.my/. To view the Content Code 2022, scan QR Code.

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