KUALA LUMPUR – The government has no plans to draw up a specific law to curb the dissemination by the media and public, of gruesome visuals involving cases like fatal accidents and other tragedies.
Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said this was because the existing laws were seen as sufficient and could be used in checking such actions.
He said the existing laws could ensure that the broadcast media and social media in Malaysia would curb or limit news story visuals which could hurt the sensitivities of the families involved.
Salleh said the broadcast media and social media were subject to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588), while the private television stations were also subject to additional conditions through the Individual Content Applications Service Provider licence and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Code.
Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) is, meanwhile, subject to its Code of Ethics.
“Enforcement action can be taken by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for violation of the licence conditions and failure to comply with Act 588.
“This is concurrent with administrative actions such as issuing an advisory or a reminder to the television station operators, whether RTM or the private ones, and the social media for contravening the provisions,” he said during the special chamber session at Parliament building, here, today.
He was responding to a motion by Datuk Rozman Isli (BN-Labuan) for the ministry to draw up a bill on what could be called ‘Jabba’s Law’ to curb or restrict the dissemination of photos of dead bodies as a measure of respect for the sensitivities and grief of families of the victims.
Rozman said the dissemination of photos of tragic victims like in the case of David William Cornish Underwood@Jabba who fell to his death from the 14th floor of a building in Cheras in April, by the mainstream media showed no respect for the victim, hence such actions needed to be curbed.
Salleh said the mainstream print media were subject to Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which states that any publication which is in any manner prejudicial to or likely to be prejudicial to public order, morality, security or which is likely to alarm public opinion could face actions such as a prohibition order from the Home Minister published in the Gazette.
He said the publication guidelines had been provided by the Home Ministry to explain about undesirable contents as outlined under Section 7(1) of the Act.
“Under article 4.2.12 of the guidelines, gruesome pictures from real accidents, and war or bombing incidents are not allowed and the publishers could face action for not complying,” he added.