Anwar: Govt Seems Intent on Punishing Everyone over “Unreasonable’ Finas Licence Statement

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Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed today the government intends to punish everyone for displaying content not aligned with the government’s view, following the government’s order for film producers to get a licence from the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) prior to releasing their content.

Joining a growing chorus calling for clarification from the government, Anwar said the latest development was troubling on top of attacks and harassment towards the media such as Al Jazeera since the government took over in March.

Earlier today, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah insisted that all production of films and recording — whether media agencies or individual media outlets — must apply for a licence before filming.

Saifuddin said under the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Act, film producers are required to inform the corporation via existing channels seven days prior to the filming date, and this even includes media meant for social media platforms.

“The rakyat is wondering the rationality of the move to the extent that the order issued by the minister is too general which would also include those who utilised social media, including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and others.

“It is clear that the government wants everyone, regardless if they are politicians or social media users, to have action taken against them for contents that may not be aligned to the government’s view.

Hari Anggara

“This unreasonable order is a step backwards. At the same time, the government believes it will continue to uphold the freedom of speech. What gives?” he said in a statement.

Anwar also reminded the government of its Pakatan Harapan predecessor’s success in upholding media freedom, to the point of regaining the confidence of investors and observers.

“With this latest move, the government will erase the efforts of the previous government, while at the same time, commit further transgressions against the country’s democratic values,” he added. – MMO