Malaysia: Cartoonist arrested after exhibition attack

Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, popularly known as Zunar, was arrested on 26 November 2016 for breaching the peace under Malaysia’s Sedition Act, just one day after an angry pro-government mob attacked his exhibition of satirical cartoons about the prime minister and other national leaders at the George Town Literary Festival, reported newspaper Free Malaysia Today. […]

Malaysia: Singaporean film banned due to “cultural sensitivities”

Singaporean film ‘Fundamentally Happy’ has been banned by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) as it “may be sensitive to the feelings of Malaysian Malays and may be interpreted by Malaysian Malays as an attempt to reflect the community’s attitude towards those who abuse the weak to fulfil their desires”, according to the filmmakers’ […]

Brunei: Ministry bans Malaysian film for being “bad influence”

In a 23 August 2016 letter, Brunei’s Ministry of Internal Affairs banned neighbouring Malaysian film ‘Pekak” (Deaf) stating it has no educational content and is a bad influence as it contains scenes of using and selling drugs, promiscuity, violence and women smoking cigarettes, reported news site My Metro on 2 September 2016. “We are aware the […]

Malaysia: Artist released on bail; investigation pending

Malaysian artist Namewee was released on bail in Penang on 25 August 2016 after four days in detention over charges that a recent video he starred in, directed and produced allegedly insulted Islam, reported Reuters on 25 August 2016. Penang district police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said they have referred the case to the Penang […]

Malaysia: Artist detained over allegedly “insulting Islam” in music video

Police detained Malaysian artist Namewee upon his return from being abroad on 21 August 2016 at the Kuala Lampur airport and are investigating him after groups filed reports that his latest music video “insulted Islam”, reported The Star Online on 22 August 2016. “Malaysian authorities must release Namewee and drop all charges against him,” said Freemuse […]

Malaysia: Censors alter ending of Indian gangster flick, cut scenes

Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board (LPF) changed the ending of blockbuster Tamil film ‘Kabali’ to insert a captioned moral message that crime doesn’t pay for Malay audiences rather than the original ending audiences in the rest of the world will see in which the fate of the lead character is left unknown, reported Malay Mail Online […]

Malaysia: Rapper threatened with censorship and arrest

Police plan to arrest rapper Namewee (real name Wee Meng Chee) when he returns to Malaysia over his recent video for a song he performed with Taiwanese hip hop trio Jiu Yi Yi (Nine One One) called ‘Oh My God’, which has allegedly insulted religion, reported Free Malaysia Today on 2 August 2016. Penang police […]

Malaysia: Artist charged over caricature of prime minister

Malaysian ‘visual disobedience’ artist Fahmi Reza has been charged over a clown caricature of Malaysian Prime Minister Razak. He faces a possible one-year prison sentence and a US$16,580 fine, said his attorney according to AFP on 6 June 2016. On his Facebook page, the 38-year-old artist wrote: “I am not afraid to stand trial for […]

Malaysia: Three books banned for “harming morals”

Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) banned three books at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair, for “harming morals” under section 7 of the 1984 Printing Presses and Publication Act, news outlet Malay Mail Online reported on 6 May 2016. One of the books was published by Amran Fans, a popular Facebook aggregator page, who […]

Malaysia: Tough censorship restrictions issued

On 15 June 2015, the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) tightened its censorship rules for television and now bans any scenes or dialogue that “mock, belittle, criticise the government and the country’s national sensitivities,” as well as any that “tarnish the government’s image.” LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Malaysian Insider that […]

Malaysia: Court rules in favour of religious book-banning

Rather than protecting writers’ and publishers’ constitutional right to freedom of artistic expression, a Federal Court in Malaysia has made a principal decision to favour Islamic laws that protect ‘the sanctity of Islam’. ZI Publications and its director, Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid, had challenged a Selangor religious enactment that they claim restricts freedom of expression by […]

Malaysia: Film banned for glorifying communism

An edited version of a controversial 2013 film ‘The New Village’ will remain banned in Malaysia as it “still appears to glorify communism”, the Malaysian Home Ministry said. Set against the backdrop of 1950s British rule in Malaya, The New Village depicts a love story between a village girl and a young communist guerrilla.It also […]

Malaysia: ‘Fifty Shades’ books banned

The Home Ministry in Malaysia has banned the popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” erotica trilogy, citing reasons of morality, after previously prohibiting the screening of the movie adaptation locally. The order under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 dated 24 February 2015 banned the printing, publication and even ownership of the romance novels by […]

Six countries ban ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ film

Countries that often object to sexual content – Malaysia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and India – have banned ‘Fifty Shades’ from cinema theatres. Authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus have also banned the film. In Malaysia, the head of the film censorship board called it “more pornography than a movie”, according to Hollywood trade publication Variety. The […]

Malaysia: Cartoonist’s office raided and books seized by authorities

The office of cartoonist Zunar (real name: Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) was raided on 28 January 2015 while he was on a speaking tour in London. More than 150 of his books were confiscated in a raid conducted under Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act and the Penal Code.  Before this, more than 500 […]

Malaysia: Indonesian action film banned

The film ‘The Raid 2: Berandal’ was supposed to have opened in Malaysian cinemas on 28 March 2014 but it was reported that the film was not allowed to be screened in the country. The Indonesian presidential election campaign took a twist when a Democratic Party leader questioned the alleged ban of the film ‘The […]

Malaysia: Comic book banned for translating the word God as Allah

Malaysia has banned a translation of a comic book with the popular Japanese superhero Ultraman after it used the word “Allah” to describe Ultraman. The Home Ministry said in a statement that the Malay-edition of ‘Ultraman, The Ultra Power’ contained elements that can undermine public security and societal morals. » Global Voices – 15 March 2014: […]

Artist Alert: February 2014 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 March 2014: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Malaysia: Two artworks removed from national arts gallery

“The removal of the artwork of two young artists from the National Visual Arts Gallery [in Kuala Lumpur] has raised questions over censorship and the freedom of artistic expression and, ultimately, who decides to what we should watch, read and listen,” wrote The Malaysian Insider on 21 February 2014, saying that the incident raised questions […]

Artist Alert: November 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 5 December 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Malaysia: Artist under government scrutiny for work critiquing USA

Malaysia’s painter J Anu recently came under government scrutiny for a work critiquing American involvement in Iraq. The artist was involved in a police investigation regarding one of his paintings, ‘I is for Idiot’, a piece that was in a public group show co-organised by the National Art Gallery of Malaysia. The work, which depicted […]

Artist Alert: October 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 14 November 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Malaysia: American artist banned for offending religious sensitivities

Malaysian authorities have banned a planned concert by the American pop singer Ke$ha after deciding it would hurt cultural and religious sensitivities. The organiser of the concert, Livescape, told the news agencies that it received a letter from the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia about the ban and that it will be losing US$ 350,000 […]

Artist Alert: August and September 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 21 October 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Malaysia: Filmmakers question censorship board’s rating system

Malaysian film censors are being accused of having double standards. “Spotlight is on the Film Censorship Board with questions raised over how it rates movies and if they can be re-rated in the name of profit,” wrote The Malay Mail on 22 October 2013. The issue cropped up after filmmaker and producer Datuk Yusof Haslam’s […]

Malaysia: American heavy metal band denied permit to perform

Christian and Islamic groups in Malaysia called for a festival concert with the American heavy metal band Lamb of God scheduled for 28 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur to be banned. As a result, on 4 September, the band was reportedly denied permit to perform in Malaysia. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir […]

India: Major media attention on lack of artistic freedom of speech

India has been enthralled in what Salman Rushdie called a ‘cultural emergency’, with writers and artists harassed for opinions. “In India today, it seems, free speech is itself an atrocity,” wrote Suketu Mehta in New York Times on 5 February 2013: “Writers and artists of all kinds are being harassed, sued and arrested for what […]

Malaysia: Book banned after pressure from religious group

Human rights organisations and journalist unions criticise the Malaysian government’s decision to ban a book on liberal Islam by the Canadian Muslim activist Irshad Manji. On 29 May 2012, Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein banned Irshad Manji’s new book ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’, saying it was “prejudicial to morality and public order.” Deputy Home […]

Malaysia/Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer

Christian and Muslim groups attempt to ban American superstar Lady Gaga’s shows during her Asia tour, calling her music, persona and style the ‘work of Satan’, while tens of thousands of her fans in Seoul, Jakarta and Manila campaign for the singer’s right to freedom of expression. Over 750 articles about the topic are listed […]

Malaysia: Censorship in performing arts on the rise

With censorship in popular media and performing arts seemingly on the rise in Malaysia, has the Muslim majority nation’s morality crusade impacted the visual art world as well? There is certainly no shortage of examples, reported Art Radar Asia on 18 April 2012: In a 2006 travelling show of South-east Asian-born artists living in Australia entitled […]

 

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