KUALA LUMPUR: Social media users are free to produce and upload videos online, said Malaysian Minister for Communication and Multimedia Saifuddin Abdullah on Friday (Jul 24), a day after stating that all filming in the country requires a licence.
Mr Saifuddin explained that the Cabinet had decided to assert its stance in supporting the principle of media freedom and individuals’ right of freedom on social media sites.
“Social media users are free to use the available platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and so on to produce and upload videos as normal, without having to apply for a licence or fear being charged by FINAS,” Mr Saifuddin’s Friday statement said.
FINAS refers to the National Film Development Corporation, a government agency regulating the film industry.
The government is also committed to amending the National Film Development Corporation Act 1981 to keep up with the times, the minister added.
The minister had on Thursday said in the parliament that filming licences are compulsory, even for social media.
His statement, which came on the heels of a police investigation into an Al Jazeera documentary on the treatment of illegal immigrants in Malaysia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has sparked criticism from the opposition politicians.
Social media users also mocked the requirement online, even though Mr Saifuddin clarified later on Thursday evening that he was only explaining the current law governing film production when responding to a question by Kluang Member of Parliament Wong Shu Qi.
READ: Government has no intention of restricting individuals’ freedoms on social media, says Malaysia's multimedia minister
The licence application guidelines on FINAS’s website state that among other requirements, applicants had to be the registered owner of a private limited company, with a paid-up capital of at least RM50,000 (US$11,700).
Mr Saifuddin repeated in his Friday statement that the Perikatan Nasional government does not intend to use the FINAS Act to restrict private individuals’ freedom on social media.
His ministry, he added, had begun efforts to amend laws under its supervision to ensure that they are applicable to modern times, and that the government would begin the amendment process in the near future.