Guideline for digital adverts on gambling, betting

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PETALING JAYA: The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF) has issued an industry guideline to provide clarity for industry practitioners on a provision under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code (Content Code) on certain specific advertisements.

It noted that advertisements pertaining to any form of gambling, including betting and gambling tips, betting and gambling are not acceptable.

In order to minimise ambiguity and uncertainty, this guideline is produced as a reference to assist industry practitioners in managing any matters pertaining to advertisements of unacceptable products and services related to gambling or betting.

For the purpose of compliance, companies which are in the business of gambling and betting, need to adhere to the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953, Betting Act 1953, and other relevant guidelines related to said business.

“It is recognised that within the electronic content industry, there exists messages with corporate social responsibility (CSR) elements and public interest messages in the form of public service announcements (PSAs).

“These messages are allowed to reach out to consumers and society at large provided that such messages contain either specific information for the benefit of communities or well wishes in relation to festivities or holidays without contravening the Content Code.

“Companies that are in the business of gambling and betting are not excluded from its ability to provide messages with the elements of CSR and to produce such PSAs, ” CMCF added.

Industry practitioners are urged to take note and implement the guidelines within their own compliance mechanisms, it said.

The guidelines can be downloaded from the CMCF’s website at (www.cmcf.my/download-centre). The main requirements of the Content Code on this area remain intact and any breach of the Code would be as per Part 8, Paragraph 8.0 of the Content Code.

In addition, it said members of the public are also encouraged to come forward and report any advertisements for products and services that appear to be in breach to the CMCF’s Complaints Bureau.

CMCF was established in February 2001 under a clause in the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to govern content and address content related issues.

Designated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the CMCF is made up of six “ordinary” member categories, namely, advertisers, audiotext hosting service providers, broadcasters, civic groups, content creators/distributors and Internet access service providers.

The Content Code will demonstrate a commitment toward self-regulation by the industry in compliance with the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA 98).

The Code will provide the platform for creativity, innovation and healthy growth of a fast changing industry. The ambit of the Code is defined under Section 213 (1) CMA 98 which states that it “shall include model procedures for dealing with offensive and indecent content”