Adhering to the right guidelines

(– By: Malati Siniah

MARKETING recently had the pleasure to have a sit-down interview with Ahmad Izham Omar, Chief Executive Officer of Media Prima Television Networks and Primeworks Studios. Known to many as the king of content not many know that apart from being the driving force behind Media Prima’s content innovation Izham is also the Chairman of Content Forum of Malaysia or CMCF.

Established in February 2001 the CMCF is an industry body under the purview of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Members of the CMCF are made up of Advertisers, Audiotext Hosting Service Providers, Broadcasters, Civic Groups, Content Creators / Distributors and Internet Access Service Providers.

Check and balance

At the heart of the organisation is the ‘Content Code’ a set of industry guidelines on the use and publication of content to the general public.

“The founders of CMCF had the foresight to know of its importance of at this day and time with the proliferation of the internet. You can’t control everything, therefore the best solution is self-regulation.”

“The Content Code contains codes meant to give parameters to what you can and can’t do on electronic mediums” shared Izham.

The Content Code, which is available in hard copy and online in 4 languages, outlines the guidelines on content, advertising, broadcasting, online and Audiotext Hosting Service and on Specific Limited Content guidelines.

“The requirements of the Code is rational and its minimum requirements are logical. If your ad is legal, decent and truthful then you are good.” Izham shared while adding that it was not the organisation’s intention to micro-manage anyone’s content but advise them on the proper procedures to follow.

“You can be as creative as you like with your TV ad however it still must go through the Film Censorship Board. By following the Content Code you will be preparing your content to pass these regulatory bodies, this is what the code seeks to address”

Izham, who is CMCF’s 3rd chairman after Dato Borhan and the late Dato Tony Lee, shared that plenty of the committee initiatives is to go on-ground and spread awareness.

“We participate a lot of on ground events, public community events where they talk about ICT or internet safety and engage a lot with the media.”

“We also conduct in-house training sessions which we usually have a good mix of government officials, industry players and brand owners who come in to learn more on the content forum and the content code”

Driving change through listening

Izham shared that while the existing codes serve as an overarching guide the CMCF always has one ear on the ground to respond to changes.

“Many people don’t realise that we have a Complaints Bureau chaired by an ex-judge. Those people who feel offended, spot false advertising or even have questions about what they see come to us”

“For the past two years, there was a steady increase in complaints related to slimming products. This is why early last year, having consulted with the Ministry of Health, we issued a set of recommended guidelines for slimming products and services”

This move Izham added was to provide assistance to industry practitioners intending to produce and distribute advertisements and commercials in the electronic medium.

When asked if we would see other guidelines announced this year Izham shared,

“We are currently reviewing the Code as a whole where everything will be looked at in totality rather than further spinoffs. When the review is finished the slimming guideline will be absorbed by it.”

Izham shared that the review of the code has already begun and the process would take about one to two years to complete as they would be looking at various areas such as industry developments, international guidelines and others when looking to improve it.

On his advice to brands in implementing the code, Izham shared “It is our duty as advertisers and broadcasters to be responsible for what we share with the public. The effect on humanity is more hurtful if you do the wrong things now”

For more information on CMCF and to download the Content Code visit


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