Malaysia to Implement Social Media Licensing Amid Revenue Sharing, Censorship Concerns

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26 Jun 2024

Malaysia’s proposed move towards implementing a licensing regime for social media and messaging platforms has sparked worries among stakeholders who were briefed on the plans in recent weeks. The Anwar Ibrahim administration aims to share revenue with local content producers and combat harmful content, but concerns have been raised about potential overreach.

Stakeholder Concerns

During meetings chaired by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), industry and civil society representatives expressed reservations about the lack of emphasis on digital revenue-sharing. Instead, proposals such as preemptive actions to prevent offenses and a kill switch to remove egregious content were met with resistance.

The Cabinet approved the licensing proposal in April, with plans to include major platforms like Meta, Google, TikTok, and others with a significant Malaysian user base. The initial timeline for announcing the licensing regime has likely been delayed due to stakeholder feedback.

Freedom of Speech and Online Censorship

Concerns about freedom of speech have been heightened as Kuala Lumpur increases online censorship efforts. The government is also working on an online safety law to address abusive content and hate speech. Datuk Seri Anwar’s government aims to promote civil liberties but faces criticism for potentially bypassing parliamentary approval for social media licensing.

Lack of Transparency

Stakeholders have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the drafting process, with the government already proposing a content code that includes political issues without sharing the draft with attendees of the briefings.

Update: 26 Jun 2024

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