ONLINE VERSION
PART 4: SPECIFIC BROADCASTING GUIDELINES

 
1.0 - Scope and Coverage
   
1.1
This part serves as a guideline for content that is broadcast through the following media:
(i)
Direct to Home (DTH) subscription broadcasting and/or video on demand services, whether via satellite or cable; and
(ii)
Terrestrial Free-to-Air TV and Radio. Otherwise collectively known as "Broadcasters".
1.2 
This part excludes Content available Online [which is dealt with in Part 5].

2.0 - Objectives
   
2.1
The objective of these specific broadcast guidelines is to ensure continued reliable standards of Content disseminated by broadcasters in accordance with expectations of audiences and internationally recognised good practice of electronic media and journalism.
2.2
This Code is a manifestation of a paradigm change brought about by technological advancements in the broadcasting industry. It is acknowledged that compliance with the Content Code is what sets the standards for Content and not the other way around whereby content takes precedence over standards.
2.3
Malaysian Broadcasters recognise that creative freedom carries with it the responsibility of ensuring that not only are the rights of children protected, but also that of viewers and listeners in general. This necessitates the upholding of ethical and professional practices in the conduct of their business operations toward fulfilling social responsibility.

3.0 - Specific Guidelines
   
3.1
In amplification to the general principles and the general guidelines laid out in Part 1 and Part 2 of this Code respectively, the following specific guidelines on broadcast take into consideration Content disseminated according to the nature of the broadcasting channel, the likely audience and in certain instances (as in free-to-air television.
   
Classification
3.2
Viewers need adequate information about content to make informed viewing choices based on their personal tastes and standards. As such, Broadcasters (excluding radio operators) will provide an indication as to the type of Content shown by adopting the following classifications. The Broadcasters shall endeavour to display the said classifications at regular intervals of the programme:
 
U
The programmme is intended for broad general audience and is suitable for viewers of all ages. The programme contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situation.
 
PG-14
Parental Guidance when allowing children below 14 to view this programme. The programme may contain mild physical violence, comedic violence, comic horror, special effects, fantasy, supernatural elements or animated violence. It may also contain some suggestive dialogue and mild sexual situations and innuendo, but depictions will be infrequent, discreet and of low intensity.
 
PG-18
Parents/Guardians are strongly cautioned to exercise discretion in permitting young persons below the age of 18 to view this programme without supervision. The programme may contain sophisticated themes, some sexual Content, discreet sexual references, suggestive language and in some instances strong and coarse language and violence which are dominant elements of the storyline and justifiable within the context of theme and character development. The programme may also contain and deal with mature themes and societal issues in a realistic and candid manner.
 
18 & Above
For those above 18. The programme is intended for adult viewing and may contain one or more of the following which is considered integral to the development of the plot, character or themes: intense violence and depictions of violence, graphic horror images, graphic language, mature themes, intense sexual situations and suggestive dialogue.
 
Scheduling
3.3
The scheduling of programmes that have been classified is applicable to free-to-air broadcasters (excluding radio operators) as follows:
U and PG-14 - Can be shown any time of day
PG-18 - Can be shown any time after 7.30 pm
18 - Can only be shown after 10 pm
3.4
Promotion Content which contains scenes of excessive violence, or adult material intended for adult audiences must not be transmitted before 10.00 p.m. Broadcasters are required to endeavour to have their own Content Control Unit tasked with the responsibility of the classifications and scheduling.
 
General Content
3.5
Broadcasters must endeavour to provide Content that, as far as possible, caters to the various tastes and expectations of Malaysian viewers and listeners. This is in view of the varied tastes of the Malaysian public.
Non-Discrimination
3.6
Broadcasters must ensure, to the best of their ability, that their Content contains no abusive or discriminatory material or comment on matters of, but not limited to, race, religion, culture, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, marital status, socio economic status, political persuasion, educational background, geographic location, sexual orientation or physical or mental ability.
   
News and Current Affairs
3.7
Broadcasters recognise that the fundamental purpose of news dissemination and current affairs Content in a democracy is to enable people to know what is happening, and to understand affairs that may affect them as members of the community so that they may form their own conclusions.
3.8
"Current affairs Content" means Content focusing on social, economic or political issues of current relevance to the Malaysian community.
3.9
Broadcasters will ensure that Content of news and current affairs programmes are presented:
  (a)
Accurately, fairly and objectively at all times and not manipulated resulting in a distortion of its original context with due regard being given to the circumstances at the time of preparing and the broadcast of the content (e.g. live coverage).
  (b)
With due care, taking into consideration the likely composition of the viewing audience at the time of broadcast.
  (c)
With sensitivity in the case of material likely to cause some distress to a substantial number of viewers such as images or interviews with victims of traumatic incidents. Such material should only be used when deemed editorially essential, and if so, sparingly.
  (d)
With due respect to the cultural differences in Malaysian community.
  (e)
With due respect to the rights of any individual group of persons who should not be portrayed in a negative light by placing gratuitous emphasis on matters pertaining, but not limited to, race, religion, culture, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, marital status, socio economic status, political persuasion, educational background, geographic location, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability. Where in the opinion of a broadcaster it is in the public interest, it may report events and broadcast comments in which such matters are raised.
  (f)
With due respect to privacy of an individual. However, in the public interest, an intrusion into an individual's privacy may be justified such as in detecting or exposing crime or a serious misdemeanour, protecting public health or safety and preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organisation.
  (g)
Presented by taking into account that news materials and current affairs always in line with government's principles. This is to avoid confusion and misunderstanding among the people and also other countries. Materials received from foreign countries must also be ensured that they don't contradict with national foreign policies.
3.10
Reasonable efforts must be made to correct significant errors of fact at the earliest opportunity.
   
Violence and Bad Language
3.11
In strictly adhering to the general guidelines on violence and bad language set out in Part 2 of this Code, all broadcasters will:
  (a)
Exercise appropriate editorial judgment in the reporting of audio and visual representation of violence, aggression or destruction within their Content.
  (b)
Exercise caution and appropriate discretion in the selection of, and repetition of, Content, which depicts violence.
  (c)
Exercise appropriate discretion in the use of explicit or graphic language related to stories of destruction, accidents or sexual violence, which could be disturbing for family viewing.
  (d)
Caution viewers in advance of scenes of extraordinary violence, or graphic reporting on delicate subject matters.
     
Religious Content
3.12
In dealing with Religious Content, broadcasters shall have regards to Islam as the official religion of the country and the constitutional rights to freedom of religion of all other communities.
3.13
Religious broadcasts are aimed at respecting and promoting spiritual harmony and to cater to the varied religious needs of the community. Broadcasters must ensure that its religious content is not used to convey attacks upon any race or religion or is likely to create any disharmony.
3.14
All religious programming on Islam must be approved by the relevant religious authorities prior to transmission. Advise from the appropriate religious authorities should be obtained in relation to Content relating to other religion.
3.15
However, the propagation of any religion other than Islam whether directly or indirectly is not permitted.
3.16
Content that is wrongful, fanatical, critical and insulting against any religion shall not be permitted.
   
Exploitation
3.17
No audio and visual Content should condone the exploitation of women, men and children. Negative or degrading Content on the role and nature of women, men or children in society must be avoided.
3.18
Television Content that degrades either sex by negative portrayal such as implied lewd conduct through modes of dress or camera focus on areas of the body is not allowed. Similarly, the degradation of children through improper portrayal or behaviour is not acceptable.

4.0 - Advertisements
   
4.1 
Broadcasters are responsible for the acceptability of advertising material transmitted and must ensure that:
  (a)
All advertisements are in good taste and conform to applicable laws and regulations.
  (b)
There is no influence by advertisers, or the perception of such influence, on the reporting of news or public affairs, which must be accurate, balanced and objective, with fairness and integrity being the paramount considerations governing such Content.

5.0 - Information, Advice and Warnings
   
5.1
Broadcasters must ensure that classification details and other information announcements have a helpful role in enabling viewers to make appropriate choices at all times.
5.2
Broadcasters should consider whether any elements or programming might disturb viewers, in particular, younger children. Appropriate information, advise and or warnings should be provided at the start of any programme, or news report, which might disturb younger children.
5.3
Broadcasters are to ensure that clear and specific warnings should be employed especially after 10.00 p.m where there is the likelihood that some viewers may find the programme disturbing or offensive. This does not diminish the broadcasters' responsibility for sensitive scheduling of programmes to reduce the risk of offence to the minimum.