ONLINE VERSION
PART2: GUIDELINES ON CONTENT

 
1.0 - General Requirements
 
1.1 Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act prohibits Content that is indecent, obscene, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person.
1.2 This requires Code Subjects to ensure that material disseminated does not include anything which offends good taste or decency; is offensive to public feeling, is likely to encourage crime or lead to disorder, or is abusive or threatening in nature.
1.3 The standards by which content is measured, given the requirements, will be viewed in the context of the country's social, religious, political and educational attitudes and observances, as well as the need to accommodate global diversity in a borderless world.
1.4 In order to assist Code Subjects as to the rules to be observed with respect to content provided and to ensure compliance with the Act through self-regulation, the following guidelines and procedures are set out in this.

2.0 - Indecent Content
   
2.1 Indecent Content is material which is offensive, morally improper and against current standards of accepted behaviour. This includes nudity and sex.

 

Nudity

 

Nudity cannot be shown under any circumstances, unless approved by the Film Censorship Board.

 

Sex and Nudity

 

Sex scenes and nudity cannot be shown under any circumstances, unless approved by the Film Censorship Board.

 


3.0 - Obscene Content
   
3.1  Obscene Content gives rise to a feeling of disgust by reason of its lewd portrayal and is essentially offensive to one's prevailing notion of decency and modesty. There is every possibility of such Content having a negative influence and corrupting the mind of those easily influenced. The test of obscenity is whether the Content has the tendency to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such communication. Specific regards to be had to:
 
  (i) Explicit Sex Acts/ Pornography

Any portrayal of sexual activity that a reasonable adult considers explicit, and pornographic is prohibited. The portrayal of sex crimes, including rape or attempted rape and statutory rape, as well as bestiality is not permitted including the portrayal of such sexual acts, through animation and whether consensual or otherwise.

     
  (ii) Child Pornography

Child pornography, including the depiction of any part of the body of a minor in what might be reasonably considered a sexual context, and any written material or visual and/or audio representation that reflects sexual activity, whether explicit or not, with a minor is strictly prohibited.

     
  (iii) Sexual Degradation

The portrayal of women, men or children as mere sexual objects or to demean them in such manner is prohibited.


4.0 - Violence
   
4.1 Violence occurs through the ravages of natural disaster, outrageous acts of terrorism, war, human conflict both in fact and through popular fiction, the antics of cartoon characters, (body) contact sports and more. Violence is a reality and Code Subjects need to be able to reflect, portray and report on it.
4.2 To deny narration or depiction of hard truths about the world would tantamount to a substantial disservice to understanding of the human condition. The portrayal of violence, with careful editorial justification, has played a major part in popular storytelling throughout human history, and must continue to have a place in the civilizing process.
4.3  Violence, psychological but especially physical or incitement to violence should be portrayed responsibly, and not exploitatively. Presentation of violence must avoid the excessive, the gratuitous, the humiliating, and the instructional. The use of violence for its own sake and the detailed dwelling upon brutality or physical agony, by sight or sound is to be avoided. Programs involving violence should venture to present the consequences to its victims and perpetrators. Particular care should be exercised where children may see, or be involved in, the depiction of violent behaviour. Specific considerations are as follows:
     
  i) Offensive violence

The portrayal of violence, whether physical, verbal or psychological, can upset, alarm and offend viewers. It can be accused of causing undue fear among the audience and of encouraging imitation. Such public concerns require due consideration whenever violence, real or simulated, is to be portrayed. The treatment of violence must always be appropriate to the context and audience expectation.

 

There is no defence of violence shown or heard for its own sake, or for the gratuitous and wanton presentation of sadistic practices and torture. Explicit and excessive imageries of injury and aggression, and of blood, are considered most offensive and must be avoided.

 

The portrayal of violence is permitted to the extent of news reporting, discussion or analysis and in the context of recognised sports events. In these matters,

 

     

 

    a. The portrayal of violence, whether physical, verbal or psychological, can upset, alarm   and offend viewers. It can cause undue fear among the audience and encourage imitation.
    b. Such public concerns require due consideration whenever violence, real or simulated, is portrayed. The treatment of violence must be appropriate to the context and audience expectations.
    c. Gratuitous and wanton presentation of sadistic practices and torture, explicit and excessive imageries of injury and aggression, and of blood, are to be avoided.
    d. The portrayal of violence is permitted to the extent of news reporting, discussion or   analysis and in the ontext of recognised sports events in the following instances:
         
      i. Use of appropriate editorial judgment in the reporting of audio and visual   representation of violence, aggression or destruction within their content.
      ii. Exercise of caution and discretion in the selection of, and repetition of Content,   which depicts violence.
      iii. Viewers to be cautioned in advance of showing scenes of extraordinary violence, or graphic reporting on delicate subject matter with appropriate warnings to audiences   in the case of gore or actual scenes of executions or of people clearly being killed.
     
  ii) Imitable violence

Due consideration must be given to the fact that violence portrayed visually may be imitated in real life. The presentation of dangerous behaviour, which is easily imitated, must be justified, and ideally excluded.

     
  iii) Sexual violence

Graphic representations of sexual violence, such as rape or attempted rape or other non- consensual sex, or violent sexual behaviour are not allowed.

     
  iv) Violence and young, vulnerable audiences

The susceptibility of younger audiences, particularly those impressionable minds must be considered.


5.0 - Menacing Content
   
5.1 Content that causes annoyance, threatens harm or evil, encourages or incites crime, or leads to public disorder is considered menacing and is prohibited.
5.2 Hate propaganda, which advocates or promotes genocide or hatred against an identifiable group, must not be portrayed. Such material is considered menacing in nature and is not permitted.
5.3 Information which may be a threat to national security or public health and safety, is also not to be presented.
   
  Illustration
     
  i) Making available instructions and guidance on bomb-making, illegal drug production or counterfeit products;
  ii) Disseminating false information with regards to outbreak of racial disturbances in a specific part of the country;
  iii) Circulating information and statements with regards to possible terrorist attacks;
  iv) Circulating or making available information with regards to the outbreak of a deadly or contagious diseases.

6.0 - Bad Language
   
6.1 Bad language, including expletives and profanity is offensive to many people. The use of crude words and derogatory terms is most likely to cause offence and especially if the language is contrary to audience expectation. Bad language includes the following:
     
  i. Offensive Language

The use of disparaging or abusive words which is calculated to offend an individual or a group of persons is not permitted.

     
  ii) Crude References

Words, in any language commonly used in Malaysia, which are considered obscene or profane are prohibited including crude references to sexual intercourse and sexual organs. It is, however, permissible to use such words in the context of their ordinary meaning and not when intended as crude language.

     
  iii) Hate Speech

Hate speech refers to any portrayal (words, speech or pictures, etc.), which denigrates, defames, or otherwise devalues a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or disability and is prohibited. In particular:

 

Descriptions of any of these groups or their members involving the use of strong language, crude language, explicit sexual references or obscene gestures, are considered hate speech.

 

   
iv) Violence

Where the portrayal of violence is permitted with appropriate editorial discretion as in news reporting, discussion or analysis and in the context of recognised sports events, care must be taken to consider the use of explicit or graphic language related to stories of destruction, accidents or sexual violence, which could be disturbing for general viewing.


 
7.0 - False Content
   
7.1 Content, which contains false material and is likely to mislead, due amongst others to incomplete information is to be avoided. Content providers must observe measures outlined in specific parts of this Code to limit the likelihood of perpetuating untruths via the communication of false content.
7.2 Content is false where prior to communications reasonable measures to verify its truth have not been adopted or taken.
7.3

Content which is false, is expressly prohibited except in any of the following circumstances:
(a) satire and parody;
(b) where it is clear to an ordinary user that the content is fiction.

7.4 Code Subjects must take all necessary steps outlined in the specific parts of this Code to limit the likelihood of provision of false Content.

8.0 - Children's Content
   
8.1 Content designed specifically for children of and below 14 years reaches impressionable minds and influences social attitudes and aptitudes. Code Subjects must closely supervise and monitor the selection, control of material, characterisations and plot. Nothing in the foregoing shall mean that the vigour and vitality common to children's imaginations and love of adventure need be removed. Specific attention must be paid to the aspects stated below.
     
   i) Violence
       
    a) In children's content portrayed by real-life characters, violence shall only be portrayed when it is essential to the development of character and plot.
    b) Animated Content for children, while accepted as a stylised form of storytelling, which can contain non-realistic violence, shall not depict violence as its central theme, and shall not invite dangerous imitation.
    c) Content for children must not contain scenes of violence, which minimise or gloss over the effects of violent acts. Any depiction of such violence must portray in human terms, the consequences of such violence to its victims and its perpetrators.
     
  ii) Safety, Security and Imitable Acts
       
    a) Content for children must deal carefully with themes which can threaten their sense of security, when portraying, for example; domestic conflict, the death of parents or close relatives, or the death or injury of their pets, street crime or the use of drugs.
    b) Content for children must deal carefully with themes which could invite children to imitate acts which they see on screen, such as the use of plastic bags as toys, use of matches, the use of dangerous household products as playthings, or dangerous physical acts such as climbing apartment balconies or rooftops.

9.0 - Family Values
   
9.1 The principles of intellectual and emotional equality of both sexes and the dignity of all individuals are to be respected. Despite societal discrimination, content should reflect an awareness of the need to avoid and overcome biased portrayals on the basis of gender. Women and men should be portrayed as equals both economically and emotionally, and in both public and private spheres.
9.2 Content should portray all persons as supporting participants in the family unit, home management and household tasks. They should be portrayed as equal beneficiaries of family or single-person life, in both work and leisure activities and, as far as possible, under all types of thematic circumstances.
9.3 In the acquisition of or involvement in non-Malaysian Content, Code Subjects should make every effort to evaluate Content having with regard to family values in relation to this Code.

10.0 - Persons with Special Needs
   
10.1 There is a risk of offence in the use of humour based on physical, mental or sensory disability, even where no malice is present. Reference to disability should be included only where relevant to the context and patronising expressions replaced by neutral terms. It should be possible for persons with special needs to be included in programmes of all kinds.