PETALING JAYA: In response to Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil’s recent call for influencers to exercise self-regulation and uphold content responsibly, the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (Content Forum) underscores the paramount importance of mindful content creation and ethical practices.
As champions of self-regulation, Content Forum chief executive officer Mediha Mahmood said it strongly endorses the minister’s call for influencers to create compelling and ethical content.
This principle, she said, is ingrained at the core of the self-regulatory organisation’s operations, which aligns with global trends where industries and communities regulate themselves based on established standards.
“Governed by the Content Code, we have implemented robust mechanisms, including the Complaints Bureau, to ensure compliance among broadcasters and advertisers.
“Our ongoing collaboration with the government and influencers reflects our dedication to fostering a safer online environment through responsible content creation,” she added.
“To achieve this goal, we are responding to influencers’ calls for the Content Code to be simplified into an additional guide specifically for influencers.
“As such, we are currently laying the groundwork for the development of an Influencers Handbook, in collaboration with influencers and key opinion leaders.
“The handbook will serve as a simplified guideline, providing clarity and accessibility regarding relevant provisions concerning the code.”
Meanwhile, Rafiq Razali, who is the chairman of the Content Forum, said: “As champions of self-regulation, the body strongly endorses Fahmi’s call for influencers to create compelling and ethical content.
“This principle, ingrained at the core of our operations, aligns with global trends where industries and communities regulate themselves based on established standards.”
Content Forum is an independent self-regulatory body registered under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission as an industry forum designated by the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to oversee and promote self-regulation of content over the electronic networked medium.
She said the self-regulatory body acknowledges the substantial impact influencers have as both advertisers and content creators, and it deeply values their evolving contribution to the content ecosystem.
Firmly supporting this role, Mediha said Content Forum advocates for self-regulation as the cornerstone for influencers to continue producing captivating content while maintaining responsibility and ethical standards.
This includes adhering to the code’s comprehensive guidelines, such as ensuring compliance with advertising standards, including the fundamental rule of disclosure when being paid for a post.
The Content Code is a revamped set of guidelines that aims to foster a robust content landscape in Malaysia where freedom of expression and responsibility can seamlessly co-exist.
It reflects the evolution of today’s content ecosystem and is aligned with global best practices to ensure it upholds the rights, security and welfare of various segments of the community and stakeholders.
In the second quarter, Mediha said the Content Forum would initiate a Request for Comment from influencers, ensuring their insights are central to crafting a comprehensive and easily digestible document.
By actively involving influencers in this process, it aims to produce a handbook that resonates with their needs, facilitating greater adherence to ethical guidelines, she noted.
She said at the heart of the body’s policy-making philosophy is inclusivity.
“We believe that those affected by policies should have a voice in shaping them.
“We therefore extend an open invitation to influencers and all stakeholders to join the Content Forum to actively contribute to policy discussions and stay informed about best practices,” she added.
In response to the minister’s call for parents to monitor social media content received by their children, she said it is actively focused on promoting digital literacy and encouraging responsible online behaviour, especially regarding content that concerns children.
More than that, Mediha said awareness and parental guidance are crucial in safeguarding children from potentially harmful content.
“To achieve this goal, we advocate for age-appropriate conversations with children to raise awareness about harmful content and ensure their online safety.
“To strengthen Child Online Protection in Malaysia, Content Forum is proposing the development of a comprehensive framework and national action plan that incorporates legal measures, awareness campaigns, and collaborations with tech companies.
“We believe that a multi-stakeholder approach involving parents, educators, and children is vital for creating an inclusive and effective framework.
“At the same time, we are extending an invitation to influencers, parents and the wider community to actively join us in shaping policies and staying informed about best practices for all content matters,” Mediha stressed.
Besides being a self-regulatory body, the Content Forum consists of key players of the content industry i.e., advertisers, advertising agencies, broadcasters, content creators, distributors, audiotext hosting services providers, advertising agencies, Internet service providers and civic groups.
Aimed at facilitating self-regulation, which provides an additional layer of consumer protection that complements the legal framework, the Content Forum is committed to govern and promote the creation, distribution and consumption of electronic-networked content.
It also houses a Complaints Bureau that is empowered to address all complaints relating to content disseminated over electronic networks.