MCMC lists prohibited ‘dirty words’ for TV and radio

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KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has published a 16-page list of “prohibited words” in TV and radio broadcasts.

It said the guideline is aimed at those who are directly or indirectly involved in private broadcast agencies, including publishers, editors, authors, programme hosts and
radio presenters.

According to MCMC, the guideline was formulated from a workshop on Oct 3 last year with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, the Film Censorship Board, the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, Commercial Radio Malaysia, and content licensees.

It categorised “impolite” language into seven categories, including “impolite” names for institutions and organisations like “DAPig”, “Umngok”, “TV tiga suku” and “Utusex” — referring to political parties DAP and Umno, and media outfits TV3 and Utusan Malaysia.

Other categories included “impolite” names for individuals like “Mat Mongol” and “Maha Firaun”, and likening individuals to animals, body parts, and objects.

It also cautioned against terms with religious and racial overtones, such as “kafir” (infidel), “murtad” (apostate) and “tongsan”, a derogatory term used against the Chinese.

It also warned against showing content which uses obscene language and profanities to “prevent violation of manners, decency, and offending the public”.

An appendix to the guideline was attached listing various profanities and prohibited words in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tamil, Hindi, and Chinese.

In English, they include the ‘F’ word, “bastard”, “butt” and “douche”.

Media practitioners were also advised to form internal content controls to handle age classifications of programmes to ensure they are suitable for the audience.

Industry sources told Malay Mail the guideline was delivered in November last year to several agencies, such as Media Prima, Astro, TV3, TV9, NTV7 and TV AlHijrah, and Telekom Malaysia, and to radio stations BFM, 988 FM, Ikim FM, Best FM, iM4U FM and City Plus FM.

It is uncertain if the guideline is enforceable but the commission had said it should be referred to in tandem with the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, its Content Code, and the Home Ministry’s Film Censorship Guideline 2010.