KUALA LUMPUR: The role of the creative industry in contributing to economic development is one of the factors being studied by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) in line with the government’s intention to amend the Finas Act 1981 (Act 244).

Finas chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri said it would be discussed in a comprehensive manner for the benefit of every creative industry player and to bring about changes reflecting the spirit of Finas.

“One of the reasons for its (Finas) establishment is the development of the creative industry and to encourage and facilitate industry players.

“These are the things we will look at and we must resonate with the current situation and also predict what the future may bring,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

Ahmad Idham said that efforts to improve the law have been part of the main agenda of Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah since helming the ministry.

Asked whether the interpretation of ‘film’ as stipulated in the law needs to be updated in line with the existence of new media platforms, Ahmad Idham said anything related to the law would be improved, including if there is a need to streamline the definition according to current needs.

“Technology shifts according to the passage of time, similar to the era when radio and television were introduced, it became a problem and also propaganda.

“It is the norm as technology changes and when technology advances, we can’t continue to amend (the law) there and then but have to look at its suitability,” he added.

Saifuddin yesterday announced that the government will amend the Act while reaffirming his stance to uphold the principles of media freedom and individual rights in social media.

The minister stressed that social media users are free to use existing platforms such as TikTok and YouTube to produce and upload normal videos as usual without having to apply for any licence or fear of legal action being taken against them by Finas.

Yesterday, certain sections of reports on Saifuddin’s response in the Dewan Rakyat regarding the need for the Film Production Licence and Filming Authentication Certificate (SPP) for filming had given an inaccurate picture which led to various reactions and polemics.

Meanwhile, senior lecturer in New Media and Content Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Melaka, Mohd Hilmi Bakar, said the government’s intention to amend the Finas Act was appropriate and should start by updating the definition of ‘film’ itself.

Referring to the definition of ‘short film’ as stipulated in the law, he said it applies to personal video recordings such as food and product reviews which are uploaded through social media.

“This act was enacted in 1981, long before the emergence of social media platforms. Obviously, the definition of ‘film’ needs to be revised,” he said.

He added that the government also needs to recognise the role and nature of social and digital media platforms because each user of the platform acts as a content creator, distributor and broadcaster.

Therefore, he said it was more important for the government to study the guidelines on the features of digital content posted on social media than to impose a licence to publish content.

“Every day there is new content posted by social media users. Then the question arises (if a licence from Finas is needed for social media users) as to whether we have enough manpower (enforcers) and budget to validate all videos on digital platforms,” he said. – Bernama