The CEO of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), Ahmad Idham, caused a massive stir this past week when he said that the government should look into censoring streaming platforms like Netflix. He claimed that these streaming platforms are filled with content that can be harmful to the children and youth of Malaysia.
Naturally, Ahmad Idham pretty much got roasted left, right and centre by journalists and the Malaysian community at large, particularly film lovers, for the simple fact that parents can literally filter out content they find inappropriate for their kids, by creating kid/teen-friendly profiles. Parents can also set up digital locks that would require anyone who would like to watch adult content to key in a 4 digit pin code. It’s not rocket science.
Interestingly enough, even FINAS isn’t in agreement with its own CEO. The chairman of the board, Datuk Hans Isaac had this to say (translated from My Metro):
We will not serve as the ‘police’ as Netflix can be censored by users themselves. Besides, the responsibility to censor films falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF). Let’s just focus on our own goals and objectives.
Well said, Datuk Hans. Well said. FINAS should be squarely focused on pushing and improving the local film industry so that we can reach international heights, instead of wasting time playing the moral police. The chairman also made it very clear that Ahmad Idham’s words are not an official statement by FINAS and may very well be Idham’s personal opinion. He said they’re planning on talking to Idham about it sooner rather than later.
By the way, we’ve got a podcast coming up this Saturday where we discuss the relevance of film and TV censorship in our current 2019 digital landscape. Stay tuned for that.