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.
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.
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:
In a Malaysian prison soon.
Prisoner 1: What are u in for?
Prisoner 2: Uploaded wedding video on YouTube. No FINAS license. U?
Prisoner 1: Uploaded kid’s 3rd birthday on IG. No license either. https://t.co/i2sw88p5iM
— Yoong (@yoongkhean) July 23, 2020
The Malaysian dystopia is so sad that we’re being told what we can or cannot do by an organization, led by the narcissist who wrote, directed, and acted in Pencuri Hati Mr Cinderella.
— ÆÆ Ron (@TerenceAaron) July 23, 2020
Can you imagine BIG implications for so many Malaysians here? That includes you and me, YouTubers, wedding video makers, advertisement productions, film students, you name it.
They’ve just opened up a Pandora’s Box.
— Norman Goh (@imnormgoh) July 23, 2020
Ada lesen tak buat video ni? https://t.co/oXTeYg6C8B
— Nazri Ishak 🇲🇾 (@techsupremo) July 23, 2020
Video ni pun kena ada lesen Finas ke? https://t.co/fJxFfJHTAR
— Anas Abdul Rahim (@twtanas) July 23, 2020
jangan salah faham
bukannya kerajaan rajin sangat nak kejar streamer, dakdak TikTok, YouTube unboxer semua
kalau dah ada undang-undang/dasar macam ni, pastu kau buat benda yang dia tak suka
ada la alasan dia nak angkut kau masuk lokap
best tak kena pijak muka? https://t.co/0WweYFT4ev
— WordsManifest (@wordsmanifest) July 23, 2020
Kalau perlu lesen, mana ada org mcm Pavithra.
— dyana sofya (@dyanasmd) July 23, 2020
I’m laughing so hard at this, imagine them licensing tiktok videos, “haa yang ni ok” https://t.co/lAUY15F8mg
— i-langit & boininja (@ninjaboikot) July 23, 2020
License = money. Just say your true intention and go. https://t.co/ZzDLYCgeRc
— di (@brownricebabe) July 23, 2020
Malaysia’s comms minister now claims even private citizens must gain approval from the country’s film agency to post videos on social media. The excuses used to silence @AJ101East and anyone else wanting to do independent journalism become more laughable by the day https://t.co/9oWSPbbB9K
— Max Walden (@maxwalden_) July 23, 2020
Lesen FINAS untuk semua jenis penerbitan kandungan video/filem:
1. You’re curtailing the creativity of young creators/filmmakers.
2. 50k paid-up capital minimum for companies to get FINAS’s license. You’re mencekik small production companies/houses.
— Khaleeq Shahzada (@khaleeqshah) July 23, 2020
The FINAS license requirement is unacceptable. It’s a huge f you to smaller content creators and production houses. It’s policing creative freedom. IT’S CENSORSHIP. It sets up structures to benefit the people in the industry who are already on top and spits on the rest of us. No.
— SylviaShey (@SylviaShealeen) July 23, 2020
FINAS being absolutely clueless about how personal recordings and social media work is pretty on-brand.
— Panic! At The Tesco (@rincredible) July 23, 2020
The government says they’re proud of their Malaysian talent but then proceeds to do everything in their power to limit their accessibility to create new, fresh material that could catapult our country ahead of others in the performing arts industry https://t.co/XmBugzFu7w
— char 🌱 (@cshenmei) July 23, 2020
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