All Filming Including Social Media Videos Now Requires a FINAS Licence… Here’s All You Need to Know

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(source: Mbrella Films)

Today, Malaysians woke up to the news that all film production, whether from media outlets or individuals on traditional platforms or even social media, requires a licence by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS).

According to Malay Mail, Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah announced that it is compulsory for producers of films to apply for a Film Production Licence and Film Shooting Certificate (SSP) regardless if they are from a mainstream media outlet or personal media.

He said the Ministry, through FINAS, will monitor film activities in its efforts to preserve and develop the film industry based on the FINAS Act 1981.

During the Ministerial Question Time today, Wong Shu Qi (PH-Kluang) asked Saifuddin on the exact definition of film and asked if this would affect people who use social media platforms such as IGTV or TikTok.

Saifuddin said Section 2 of the FINAS Act reads that film includes feature films, short films, trailers, advertising “filmlets” and any recording on material of any kind, including videotapes and video discs of moving images, accompanied or unaccompanied by sound, and documentaries, for the viewing of the public.

Tiktok Videos by Malaysians (source: TechSide Tales)

It is implied that the government encourages everyone, individuals or organisations, to produce any form of film. However, it must be “according to the law”.

This new licence comes after FINAS claims that Al Jazeera did not have the necessary licence to film or air its documentary on the alleged mistreatment of migrants in Malaysia, titled ‘Locked Up In Malaysia’. Al Jazeera drew criticism after the documentary aired on 3 July, with government officials claiming it is biased and misleading.

Saifuddin also states that according to the FINAS Act, licence holders who want to film need to inform FINAS at least seven days before starting the shooting, through a special form it issues.

Communications and Multimedia minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah (source: The Star)

However, a quick check on the FINAS website shows that among the requirements for applicants of its filming licence, is for them to be registered as owners of a private limited company with at least RM50,000 in paid-up capital.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil said Saifuddin’s remarks were worrying as they suggested that any person producing video content, even for personal use on social media, was subject to the licensing requirement that also needed them to have companies with a paid-up capital of RM50,000 each.

The PKR lawmaker expressed concern that the broad meaning of the law was being used to target critics of the government, such as the Al Jazeera news outlet that is being investigated for this very offence.

“I hope the minister or the ministry can give an explanation. Because this affects all social media users and requires them to obtain licence from FINAS,” Fahmi said.

While some concerns are still unexplained by Saifuddin, many social media users are already weighing in on this whole issue. Take a look:


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