The Content Forum has officially launched the new Content Code 2022, a comprehensive guide outlining best practices and ethical standards for the creation and curation of content. The revamp of the code is a testament to the Content Forum’s commitment and dedication to advancing a robust content landscape by developing content standards that are reflective of the times and on par with global best practices.
The new Content Code 2022 is a result of an extensive process by the Content Forum involving various stakeholders, including members of the public. Culminating in a nationwide public consultation conducted last year, the Content Forum collected feedback through multiple townhalls and dialogues, and received approximately 1,245 individual written submissions.
“The public consultation helped us identify and address several concerns that have been growing recently in the content industry. At the Content Forum, we continue to believe that policy-making is best done with input not just from policy-makers and regulators but also upon consulting the industry, stakeholders and members of the general public. We offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who participated,” said Mediha Mahmood, the Executive Director of the Content Forum.
In a bid to ensure that the code continues to facilitate self-regulation in the Malaysian content ecosystem while evolving with the times, the revamp was aimed at contributing significantly as a guideline to address various issues and igniting important conversations among users today. These include the exploitation of religions in advertising products, the ethical reporting of suicide in news, addressing misleading advertising endorsed by influencers, circumventing pressing concerns around advertising for children, tackling online abuse and gender-based violence, and accessibility of information for persons with disabilities (PWD).
Launching the Content Code 2022 - Kenny Ong, Chairman Content Forum, Muhammad Razali Anuar, Advisor to Chairman of MCMC, Euan Smith, Group CEO Designate of Astro, Nini Yusof, Deputy CEO, TV Networks of Media Prima, Mediha Mahmood, Executive Director of the Content Forum, Ruben Hattari, Director of Public Policy of Netflix, and Dinesh Ratnam, Country Manager of iQiyi.
With these guidelines in place, harmful content and misinformation can be more effectively avoided. When more content creators are aware of the implication and regulations of what can or cannot be published, it builds public trust and credibility. The code also encourages industry players to become more responsible and accountable over content shared.
This is more crucial especially now that the content ecosystem has become so vast and borderless that it is hard to control, which warrants self-regulation as one of the best and effective ways to build a healthier content space. Merely relying on authorities or third-party control over content is inadequate, given the scale and pace at which content is spread online. The Content Forum advocates for everyone in the content ecosystem to play their own respective roles in self-regulating the content they create and the content they consume.
Engaging key stakeholders
In a bid to foster continuous discourse on the complex content ecosystem amongst industry key stakeholders, a dialogue session titled ‘Content: Who’s in Control’ was organised in conjunction with the Content Code’s official launch. Panelists from various fields of the content industry gathered to discuss content regulation and how self-regulation is the best way forward for a healthier global content sphere.
The panelists included Euan Smith, Group CEO Designate of Astro, Nini Yusof, Deputy CEO, TV Networks of Media PrimaMediha Mahmood, Executive Director of the Content Forum, Ruben Hattari, Director of Public Policy of Netflix, and Dinesh Ratnam, Country Manager of iQiyi.
“We are privileged to be able to work hand-in-hand with key industry stakeholders to advance the nation’s content standards. Our esteemed panelists brought to the table different schools of thought on the matter of controls as well as shed light into how the industry is handling the pivot from the traditional media centric industry. Continuous discussions like these and engagements with the industry is something we aim to foster. This is exactly how the Content Code was devised and how it will continue to be in order to foster a progressive content landscape for all Malaysians for generations to come,” said Kenny Ong, Chairman of Content Forum.
Raising the bar in content self-regulation
First established in 2004 under the auspices of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Content Code aims to provide for a competitive, efficient and self-regulating industry, while addressing policy gaps and highlighting the crucial need to uphold the rights, security and welfare of various segments of the community and stakeholders.
Also present at the launch was a representative from the MCMC who recognised that the updated Content Code has already been put to good use, prompting discussions over issues relating to content that has not often been talked about by the public.
“We hope the new Content Code 2022 will empower Malaysia’s content landscape. Thanks to organisations such as the Content Forum, who are committed to facilitating self-regulation and safe content. Since the start, the Content Forum has been committed to ensuring the Content Code remains relevant and progressive. I’m sure that we will see more changes in the Code in future as the content scene develops and new issues arise. This is also in line with MCMC’s vision of establishing an industry that is competitive, efficient, and increasingly self-regulatory to stay ahead of changing times,” said MCMC.
Content Code 2022 was officially registered and effective on 9 June 2022 and can be found on https://www.mcmc.gov.my/skmmgovmy/media/General/registers/Content-Code-2022.pdf