After the negative reception to calls from certain parties to censor Netflix, along with allegations that the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) has purported connections with Aflix, the local streaming platform is back in the news.
In an interview with The Malaysian Insight, Chief Executive Officer Mohd Fadzil Hashim claimed that Aflix TV is the better option for parents that love their kids. Netflix, of course, has parental controls that are designed prevent children from accessing unsuitable content without consent—but that’s still not enough, according to Fadzil.
“Yes, Netflix has parental controls, but if parents want to watch Netflix shows at home, they have to watch separately from their children because of elements that are not in line with the values of Malaysian society, especially those who are not Muslims.”
The call to censor Netflix’s content was made by FINAS CEO, Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nazri—and has drawn attention to Aflix TV, which is supposedly the “first world ethical entertainment streaming platform”. But Fadzil insists that there is no connection between Aflix and FINAS, with a widely-reported meeting between CEOs of the two entities held to discuss how FINAS could contribute to the service.
As such, Fadzil states that the public shouldn’t be upset over the censorship issue:
“Those who are angry at the suggestion to censor Netflix content, do not love children.”
But perhaps leaning on the excuse that Netflix content should be censored because parents would have to watch unsuitable programs away from their kids is a relatively weak one.
For one, content providers such as YouTube and Netflix have mechanisms to restrict mature content for underage users, that are required to sign in to confirm their age. In addition to that, films that are played at cinemas in Malaysia are rated by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia so that parents/guardians are aware of the type of content they may be exposing children to.
A rather extreme example to illustrate this point would be tobacco/cigarettes. Cigarettes, of course, are illegal to purchase for anyone below the age of 18—same goes with alcohol. Using the same logic, these substances should be banned nationwide, simply because they are not family-friendly.
The recent issue of Mat Lajaks are a poignant example of how parental oversight is more of the issue here. It’s an obvious point that banning bicycles isn’t the solution, and why should it be any different here?
Instead, it could be argued that a large part of this responsibility should fall within parents’ control. It would seem to be a superfluous—and wholly unnecessary—move to censor content purely on the aforementioned basis. And it’s certainly the start of a slippery slope.
Is the CEO making the argument that content, in general, that isn’t family-friendly should be censored nationwide? And where does that stop? Should anything that isn’t family-friendly be censored, even the media?
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