Ministry Issues Stern Warning After Steamy Scenes From Local Drama Go Viral
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia has issued a stern warning to all broadcast companies after a leaked racy scene from an unaired drama went viral on social media
Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa reminded local TV stations that they should not be displaying scenes that touch on religious and other sensitivities in the country.
He said, under current regulations, the government has given local broadcast companies the authority and responsibility to censor content themselves.
However, he warned that the ministry will not hesitate to take action if the stations have been found to violate broadcasting guidelines.
"If we find that the television station does not follow certain guidelines, especially touching on issues related to religion, culture, customs, and so on, then I will review the facility (censorship authority), and we may revoke it," Annuar told reporters on Sunday, 20 March, as quoted by Bernama.
The minister gave the warning after he was asked to comment on a video posted by local actor Zul Ariffin that featured sexually suggestive scenes from a series that he is starring in
On Thursday evening, 17 March, Zul uploaded a 23-second teaser on his Instagram account of a drama that has yet to be aired on TV3 called Perempuan Itu.
In the clip, Zul is seen being pushed against a wall by leading actress Siti Hariesa before he takes off his shirt.
The scene is interspersed with another act where Siti — dressed in a maid outfit — is sitting on Zul while feeding him whipped cream.
The video has since been deleted from the actor's Instagram page, but was quickly duplicated and shared by netizens across social media. It generally garnered criticism for being too inappropriate for Malaysian viewers, especially since it was set to premiere in the month of Ramadan.
Director Ain Sharif told mStar in an interview on Saturday, 19 March, that she did not know Zul would share the cuts of the show on Instagram
She told the Malay daily that the video was made of cuts from a second recording, which may not even be shown on television.
The director added that she had only carried out her responsibility to convey the drama's message and storyline, as written by scriptwriter Erma Fatima.
Ain explained that the second version was filmed to make the drama more interesting, but it is up to the broadcast station to decide whether or not to include them in the final cut.
"I'm aware that some parts may be sensitive for viewers but they will have to watch and understand the story, then they will understand what we are trying to convey, the drama actually has many positive messages," she said.
On Sunday, Annuar said he has asked all the parties involved in the drama to provide a written explanation about the whole incident
If their explanations are not deemed satisfactory, the drama will not be allowed to air.
"For me, scenes that are not in line with the culture of the Malays and Muslims, and that offend the Malays and Muslims should not even reach a stage where the ministry needs to step in and reprimand, because we need to understand for ourselves... the boundaries of scenes that are inappropriate," the minister said.
TV3 has also since issued a statement regarding the controversy
In a statement on Facebook on Saturday, 19 March, the television station said they view the issue seriously and have noted public concerns of the issue.
"The scenes shown in the clip were definitely not suitable to be aired, especially not for promotional purposes. The scene was also neither discussed nor approved by the station," they wrote.
"This matter should not have occurred as all local drama content should follow guidelines set by the Film Censorship Board (LPF)."
"TV3 hopes to remind all parties involved in production and actors to be more cautious of their actions and to mind the sensitivies of religion and the community, especially in the creation of any work."
Actor Zul Ariffin has also since apologised for posting the video on social media.
"I'm sorry to all who were affected by my action of uploading the said video," he said in an Instagram Story today, 21 March.
"After this, I will be more careful when uploading any material that is given to me to promote on social media."