Malaysia’s Stricter Censorship Rules Condemned by Filmmakers and Academics: ‘A Dangerous Occupation’

Malaysia's new censorship (RKO Radio Pictures)

In a move that has sent shockwaves through Malaysia’s creative community, the government’s proposed censorship guidelines are poised to suffocate artistic expression.

Filmmakers and academics are sounding the alarm, warning that the expanded rules will not only stifle creativity but also criminalize filmmakers. The Freedom Film Network has issued a stark warning: “Filmmaking is now a dangerous vocation in Malaysia.”

Malaysia’s new censorship rule (Benar)

The guidelines, which target liberal and religious pluralism, are a blatant violation of Malaysia’s founding principles. The Film Censorship Board (LFP) will be granted sweeping powers to scrutinize films, paving the way for a surge in arrests and investigations. Creatives will be forced to self-censor, sacrificing artistic merit for fear of retribution.

Academics have denounced the move as “reactionary” and “targeting liberals.” Khoo Gaik Cheng of the University of Nottingham lamented that the guidelines “leave no room for subjectivity and criticism.” The government’s stance has sparked concerns about artistic freedom and Malaysia’s creative future.

The proposed regulations are part of a broader trend of creative suppression. Recent years have seen films banned or censored, including Pixar’s “Buzz Lightyear” and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.” The government’s stranglehold on creative expression has forced filmmakers to disown their work or face criminal charges.

Malaysia’s creative community is fighting back, refusing to be silenced by the government’s draconian measures. The Freedom Film Network’s courageous stance is a testament to the power of artistic expression.

As the world watches, Malaysia’s government must reconsider its suffocating grip on creativity and embrace the liberal approach enshrined in its founding principles. Only then can Malaysia’s creative industry flourish, unfettered by the shackles of censorship.