CENSORSHIP AND ETHICS IN MALAYSIA
In Malaysia, it is firmly believed that everyone is expected to behave within the standards that the society had set for them. There should not be any outrage of disturbing acts such as obscenity, violence and other disruptive manner. The public has right to converse about any subject as long as it doesn’t engage into any provocative issues or any sensitive subjects that could be deemed as a threat to the public and the nation’s security. For example the issue of race, religion or the monarchies of the country are subjects that lead to provocation amongst the people of the country. It is stated in article 10-4 in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia that “Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of part 3, Article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law”. Part 3 refers to the citizenship, article 152 refers to the national language, article 153 refers to the reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, and etc for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and article 181 refers to the saving for the rulers’ sovereignty. This act clearly states no one should converse or debate about the given matter above that could well be imposing to the interest of the Nation’s security or the Malaysian government. With the emergence of the media that was invented for a long period, we have been constantly striving to understand the effects of media and how it plays a role in the behavior of the people receiving the information. The media had always been given conflicting views on whether it is building up the qualities of human life or either destroying it by creating social disorders. In the Malaysian media context, censorship has always been a rising issue in the process of adapting to a modern knowledge based economy and keeping at par with other international media. Malaysia has always practiced those stringent forms of media censorship banning over hundreds of movies, songs, television, print and other media sources that contains an explicit or derogatory contents that is contrary to upholding morality which is expected in the local society. There are countless of media sources in forms of books, television, films, music and videos from around the world that penetrates through our Malaysian media. Most of which undergoes the process of monitoring and filtering to check that it is suitable for the local content and does not cross the boundaries of the local standards. The possession or an unlicensed use of a printing press is deemed illegal under the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, therefore journalists who are reporting ‘sensitive’ issues are always given guidelines before hand to avoid any unwanted impressions that could cause a stir. Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, the “Ex-Malaysian Home Minister said that in 2003 the guidelines that concerns censorship that was drawn up in 1993, underwent through a process of restudying due to some of the rules being inapplicable to current terms as he believes that it would create a better nation in this country. The censorship guidelines of Malaysian media has axed out many explicit contents relating to nudity and violence that could contribute towards the behavior of the people in the country. For example movies that has nude scene that is deemed “too explicit” would be removed from its contents. There are many explicit contents that could send out a negative message that influences the younger generation of this country therefore the raise for awareness in the standards of morality should be taken into a serious consideration as it could lead to a more jeopardizing act such as crime and violence that could abrupt the peace that the country upholds. A theory is brought up that there is a correlation between criminal...
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