Monday, August 10, 2009


Photo: The Star 8 Aug 2009

It is a relief to know that the government will not impose any censorship of the Internet. This is the assurance given by the PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Let's pray that he keeps his word. He said this after Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim announced plans to introduce a filtering system for the Internet, albeit only for pornography.

Honestly, what's there to censor in this picture?? (IHT)

It is pointless to censor anything in this day and age where information is easily available at your fingertips and from the home. Yet, censorship continues in Malaysia. And it's not just for internet pornography. As far as I'm concerned, the officers at the Home Ministry are marker-pen happy. The pictures on my subscriber copy of the International Herald Tribune are covered with the ubiquitous black boxes. It's absolutely annoying. Don't they know that this makes me even more curious to see what's behind those black boxes? And I can easily find out by looking up the IHT online. That defeats the purpose of censoring the pictures, don't you think?

Obviously, these black blotters are not art connoisseurs.

Since when were male chests and female breasts considered obscene? (Inset) Even the devil's chest is not spared!

It's not only the IHT that has suffered this mutilation. One irate subscriber of the National Geographic has also vented his anger in the local press over the same issue. "These overzealous censors need to get their priorities right," he says.

(Right) 11 black blots on one picture alone!

Grandma and the children are victims too. And they are wearing their swim-suits!

And while we are on the topic, did you know that there are only three panel members on the National Film Censorship Board? My Google search for the names of the panel members drew a blank. So much for transparency!

Malaysian film director, Amir Muhammad, had three of his movies banned, including his latest "Malaysian Gods". He deserves credit for never giving up. His movies have received even more publicity and critical acclaim thanks in part to the ban!

Malaysia has some of the strictest censorship laws in the world. Books, films, TV programmes, video games are routinely banned if the content is deemed objectionable or detrimental to the moral and spiritual values of the people. The same laws are also applied to local and foreign concerts.

I can understand the need for censorship, but censors should not go overboard in doing their job. At least, for education, arts and culture, censorship should be relaxed. Are Malaysians so weak in character and faith that the government has to protect and mollycoddle them from what it subjectively deems as 'bad' influence?

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