Overview of the Content Forum
The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (Content Forum) was established in February 2001 pursuant to Section 212 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA ‘98) to govern content and address content related issues.
The Content Forum is made up of six ‘Ordinary’ member categories, namely – Advertisers, Audiotext Hosting Service Providers, Broadcasters, Civic Groups, Content Creators / Distributors and Internet Access Service Providers.
The Content Forum governs content self-regulation through a Communications and Multimedia Content Code (Content Code).
Content-related issues, concerns, grievances and complaints are addressed by the Complaints Bureau.
Aimed at facilitating self-regulation, which provides an additional layer of consumer protection that complements the legal framework, the Content Forum is committed to govern and promote the creation, distribution and consumption of electronic-networked content.
As an industry self-regulatory body, the Content Forum comprises of key members of the communications and multimedia content industry, including broadcasters, advertisers, content creators, internet access service providers and civic groups. This dynamic and robust representation of industry practitioners ensures that content standards continue to be developed with the objective of establishing a level playing field in the industry.
Definition of Content
Content – as defined in Section 6 of the CMA ’98 – is sound, text, still picture, moving picture, audio-visual or tactile representation, which can be created, manipulated, stored, retrieved or communicated.
Management of the CMCF
The management of the CMCF rests with its’ Council, which comprises a Chairman and 18 council members elected from the six ‘Ordinary’ member categories. The CMCF’s Executive Office is charged with the day to day running of its operations and is headed by an Executive Director, and assisted by a full time Secretariat.
Overview of Content Code
- The Content Code is a set of industry guidelines on the usage and / or dissemination of content for public consumption.
- Section 211 of the CMA ’98 prohibits Content that is indecent, obscene, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person.
- Section 213 of the CMA ’98 states that the Content Code shall include model procedures for dealing with offensive or indecent content; the restriction on the provision of unsuitable content, the methods of classifying content, the representation of Malaysian culture and identity.
The Content Code primarily covers the following areas:
- General Principles (Introduction)
- Guidelines on Content
- Specific Online Guidelines
- Audiotext Hosting Service Guidelines
- Specific Limited Content Guidelines
The Complaints Bureau
The CMCF houses a Complaints Bureau that is empowered to:
- Consider and deal with complaints relating to content as provided for in the Content Code.
- Investigate any content which is considered to be in breach of the Content Code without there necessarily having been a complaint.
- Rule on any dispute arising between members of the CMCF or between a member and a non-member.
- Interpret provisions of the Content Code when the need arises or when a request is made.
- The CMCF’s Complaints Bureau shall receive, consider, mediate and if necessary, adjudicate and make a ruling on matters, such as complaints and grievances, relating to alleged breaches.
- The Complaints Bureau comprises an appointed Chairman and six members of the Forum, one each representing the six affiliations.
Content Advisory Centre
A Content Advisory Centre has been set up and it aims to help avoid misinterpretation by providing practical advice on the application of the Code. In its initial stages, the advice is limited to commercial content.
- Ordinary Members – Business, industry and trade organisations, as well as firms, companies and corporate bodies established, incorporated or registered under the laws of Malaysia and qualifying as:
- Audiotext Service Providers
- Civic Groups
- Content Creators / Distributors
- Internet Access Service Providers
- Associate Members – Any individual firm, society or body established, incorporated or registered under the laws of Malaysia (who do not fall under any of the six Ordinary member categories) interested in content provided by the communications and multimedia industry.
Summary Of Objectives
- To continuously develop codes and best practices as envisaged by the CMA ’98 that reflects a balance representation and views of the community at large
- To provide an avenue and channel for complaints in relation to content.
- To administer sanctions for breaches of the Content Code
- To establish Malaysia as a major global centre and hub for communications and information and content services.
- Code Administration
- Public Education
- Consumer Protection