Netflix must abide by local regulations set for content providers, despite being exempt from obtaining a license as an over-the-top content application. The situation was clarified by communications and multimedia minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak in a statement to local newspapers. Essentially, action can be taken against the service provider if it is found to be making offensive content available in Malaysia.
Concern arose when Netflix announced that it is now available worldwide, providing Malaysians with official access to the massive library of shows for the first time. Some questioned whether this would mean that the shows would have to be censored to meet local content regulations. However, a Netflix spokesman said that there would be no censorship; although some shows would not be available due to licensing restrictions.
This number could possibly change, as Salleh has now directed the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission to meet with Netflix to notify them of local content standards and their obligations. He also said that his ministry is considering tabling amendments to the law that would require content providers like Netflix to obtain a license.
Berita Harian also reported that Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan has made calls for the government to proactively filter Netflix content. He was quoted as saying, “we have to block in advance, before people start to like these shows.”
We are not clear on what kind of action could be taken against Netflix, considering its unusual position as an online content provider. It is likely that Netflix could simply pull the offending content from its Malaysian library, which would further diminish its limited offerings already.
[Source: Malay Mail Online]