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CIJ executive director Wathshlah G Naidu said LPF’s decision to call for the removal of the particular segments came off as arbitrary, and urged it to justify what exactly it saw as the potential damage that would come from advertising undergarments.  — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
CIJ executive director Wathshlah G Naidu said LPF’s decision to call for the removal of the particular segments came off as arbitrary, and urged it to justify what exactly it saw as the potential damage that would come from advertising undergarments. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — The Centre For Independent Journalism (CIJ) today condemned the actions of the Film Censorship Board’s (LPF) instruction restricting local broadcasters from displaying innerwear in their home shopping programmes.

CIJ executive director Wathshlah G Naidu said LPF’s decision to call for the removal of the particular segments came off as arbitrary, and urged it to justify what exactly it saw as the potential damage that would come from advertising undergarments.

“LPF must clearly spell out why such advertisements are deemed as ‘offensive’ and ‘indecent’, and how it affects the ‘sensitivities of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society’.

“Failure to do so could be interpreted as LPF imposing its moral biases and prejudices aimed at censoring anything that connotes to or is a reflection of body parts and images,” Wathshlah wrote in a statement.

She said despite the need to safeguard proper standards of decency, morals and modesty, LPF should note that these concepts are relative to different people with no universal set of rules.

“The use of such laws and restrictions in such a scenario, thus, must be discouraged; a pluralistic and informed society should be promoted, not restricted,” she said.

Wathshlah then called for the government and its related agencies to facilitate healthy and educational discourse on bodily integrity, as opposed to plastering through the topic with censorship and turning such topics into something taboo.

“Above all, we call on the relevant authorities to focus on more pressing issues instead of contributing to State-sponsored censorship.

“It is more critical to move ahead with the plans to establish the Malaysian Media Council (MMC). Let the media arbitrate matters regarding the media and come up with their own code of ethics and content better reflecting life in the 21st century,” she wrote.

She added how she hopes for the new Multimedia and Communications Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa will include the formation of MMC under his 100-days-in-office Key Performance Index as minister.

“Putting an end to arbitrary censorship by the State should also be on the agenda of both him and the home minister,” she added.

Malay Mail’s exclusive report today revealed how two local broadcast companies were recently instructed by the LPF to stop displaying male and female innerwear in their respective home shopping segments.

Despite LPF’s assertion, checks by Malay Mail showed that the male and female undergarments displayed in the home shopping shows were merely put on racks, or mannequins, rather than on any live model.

The items on sale on both platforms included men’s briefs, plain women’s panties and bras, and body shapers.

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