Malaysia: public consultation on revamped content code until December 10, 2021
Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Forum (“Content Forum“) released a public consultation document entitled”Overhaul of the Malaysian code of communications and multimedia content», Proposing a number of changes to prohibitions, restrictions and requirements relating to electronic content, in particular with regard to advertising, as well as broader implications for online service providers and operators of online marketplaces . The deadline for submitting comments to the Content Forum is December 10, 2021.
The Content Forum is an industry body appointed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA). As expected by the CMA, the Content Forum published the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code (“Content Code“), which applies to all content broadcast on electronic network media, such as television, radio and Internet broadcasts.
Although this is a voluntary industry code, the Content Forum’s Complaints Office (to which members of the industry and the public can file complaints) can, among other things, impose fines. up to RM50,000 (~ $ 12,000 USD) for any content violation. Coded. In addition, the CMA provides that compliance with the Content Code provides a defense against any legal proceedings regarding any matter addressed in the Content Code.
The public consultation document proposes the following key changes to the content code:
- Online service providers: Certain specific online guidelines in the Content Code will apply to online service providers, covering all content launched, uploaded, broadcast or made available online in Malaysia. However, over-the-top content service providers (OTT) that deliver curated content directly to consumers over the Internet (such as VOD, linear OTT and other TV streaming services) are excluded.
- Online marketplace operators: Advertising guidelines under the Content Code will be extended to operators of online marketplaces defined as persons who provide websites where products or services are marketed and sold by third parties.
- Influencer marketing: Ads featuring influencers paid to support certain advertiser’s products or services should be clearly disclosed as such, so that influencer marketing is not used as a tool to mislead consumers.
- Children and advertising: A host of new bans, restrictions and requirements will be introduced for advertisements directed at or targeting children (i.e. those under the age of 13). For example, direct exhortation to a child to buy an advertised product or to persuade his parents to buy a product advertised for him will be prohibited.
- Advertising for alcohol: Alcoholic beverage advertisements on electronic media (except television and radio) will be permitted, subject to specific requirements and restrictions.
- Advertising claims, testimonials and prices: Further requirements and restrictions will be introduced for consumer protection. For example, important information should not be omitted or presented in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or inappropriate manner that could mislead consumers.
- Indecent content: Nudity content will be permitted subject to suitability for the context of the content, as long as it is not excessive and explicit in nature.
- Accessibility: Reasonable accommodation should be made to provide all content and information intended for the general public in accessible formats and technologies appropriate for persons with disabilities.
- Advertising by gaming / betting company: The charitable arm of a licensed gaming / betting company will be permitted to broadcast messages on corporate social responsibility campaigns and public service announcements, provided specific guidelines in this regard are followed.
- Religion: The use of religion in advertisements will generally be prohibited unless permitted by law, for example, Halal certification and Islamic banking. There will also be specific release requirements for all religious content on Islam.
The content forum will continue to accept comments on the public comment document until December 10, 2021. Given the breadth of coverage offered by this overhaul, online content providers and advertisers should consider the implications of these changes on their business and advertising practices, and provide feedback, where appropriate, using this form.