In case you missed it, recently there was a whole debacle circulating FINAS and the rights of Malaysians to post videos on social media.
For a quick introduction to FINAS, it is the lead government agency responsible for Malaysia’s film industry and it governs the promotion, cultivation and facilitation of the development of this industry. It’s CEO is Spanar Jaya alumni and “beloved” film director, Ahmad Idham.
In light of the Al-Jazeera documentary that divided Malaysians, titled “Locked-Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”, FINAS scrambled to prohibit such incendiary documentaries from ever happening again. With this, Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, announced that moving forward, all producers of films must apply for a licence (SSP) if they are a part of mainstream or personal media.
When asked the definition of “films”, Saifuddin added,
“This 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.”
Wow, that was a mouthful…
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
Netizens were outraged since the license is only given to those who are owners of a private limited company with at least RM50,000 in paid-up capital. This is an exorbitant amount, especially for budding indie filmmakers.
Despite all that being said, the Minister did, what most netizens call, a U-turn, when he retracted his statement. After all the backlash, Saifuddin said,
“The Cabinet has agreed to uphold freedom of the media and individual freedom on social media.”
The latest update from the whole situation is that Saifuddin has now issued an apology for his previous statements. According to NST, in parliament, he said,
“As a minister, I should apologise, because when I replied about the issue in the Dewan Rakyat on July 23, I did so in a very straightforward manner. Apparently, in politics, you can’t be too naive or you will be whacked.”
As a cherry on top of his apology, Saifuddin launched Southern Zone YouTube and Community Cinema Skills Workshop, which is still governed by FINAS, which aims to expose young talent to the latest media to generate income.
He advised all aspiring TikTok and YouTube creators to carry on and reassured that no actions will be taken to limit their creative freedom.
Well, that wasn’t so hard was it?
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