PUTRAJAYA, April 18  — The government has always taken the stand of defending media freedom including social media nonetheless it should not be abused, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Referring to the advertisement promoting gambling with an Aidilfitri 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 an Aidilfitri-themed gambling advertisement here today.

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 and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is now 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 tranquility of Muslims while performing fasting.

“The dissemination of raya-themed video with gambling element 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 choosing their jobs as police investigation on the gambling advertisement said the individuals involved in the advertisement production were not aware about the advertisement.

According to him, the art and culture field is not short of jobs for productions such as dramas and films for all in the acting line.

“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 many productions are going on. So do not use the excuse of not having jobs,” he said.

Saifuddin said KKMM would leave it to police to investigate the advertisement which was reported for the first time in the country.

MCMC chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek who was also present in the media conference said so far 61 contents have been ordered to be taken down by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which are based overseas.

He said MCMC is also giving its full cooperation to police in ensuring the content did not go viral on social media platforms and called on Malaysians not to disseminate the advertisement.

Finas chief executive officer, Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri who was also present 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 now, Ahmad Idham said Finas had issued more than 200 Filming Authentication Certificates (SPP) to production crews.


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