Malaysian body introduces content code following footwear debacle

A new set of guidelines in response to a botched collaboration with local celebrity Neelofa around ‘Muslim-friendly footwear’.

Malaysian celebrity Neelofa (Getty Images)
Malaysian celebrity Neelofa (Getty Images)

The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia introduced a set of guidelines to promote best practice and standards of content among content producers and consumers. The move comes after recent buzz on social media about a pair of ‘Muslim-friendly’ footwear advocated by local celebrity Neelofa.

The regulatory body said that Malaysia is a multicultural society, which makes it “crucial that all content posted for public consumption, especially in the digital sphere, be responsible, tactful and truthful”.

Content Forum’s executive director Mediha Mahmood said that industry and societal developments in promoting ethical and positive content standards needs to be considered as part of the content industry’s business practices.

“The increasing use of religion as a marketing ploy has raised many concerns and the Content Forum had thus issued an Industry Practice Note on the Use of Religion in Advertising via Broadcast Media in 2017,” said Mahmood. “This is also to ensure that neither the religion nor the consumers are exploited through misleading advertising content.”

The guidelines include prohibition against making claims or giving false interpretation of the teachings of any religion that has a tendency to mislead, create fear or give false promises to consumers. In light of the rise in content abuse across all platforms recently, the Content Forum encourages all industry players and content creators to refer to the code whenever in doubt.

Local footwear brand Flipper was at the brunt of backlash following its collaboration with celebrity Neelofa where a pair of slippers were branded as ‘Muslim-friendly’. Critics said that the language raised eyebrows on whether it was trying too hard to cash in on religion—especially so close to Ramadan. The brand apologised for the confusion.

Incidentally, Neelofa also made headlines for allegedly flouting Covid restrictions at her recent wedding ceremony and subsequent honeymoon in Langkawi.

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