Is MDA's censorship practice outmoded and archaic?

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Officers of Media Development Authority (MDA) do not expect the public to agree with their decision, said Minister of communication and information Dr.Yaacob Ibrahim. He also added that public disagreement on a decision on classifying content is a good indication of MDA striking a judicious balance.

The minister continued, if the decision attracts disagreement from the public at either end of a spectrum of views, it is a good indication that MDA has managed to strike a judicious balance between competing interests . He added that the current approach, which ensures that content regulatory standards and policies are in line with social norms and keep pace with their evolution, has worked well.

But the fallout that occurred in the arts and the writers’ community does not seem to reflect the position taken by the MDA. The very fact that they wanted to pulp the books and later retracted that by putting the controversial titles back in the adult section is an indication of how NLB had caved in to public pressure.

Dr Yacob went on to say that MDA conducts regular surveys of the population to gain important outlook into community views. Dr Yaacob stressed that by end of 2014, Media Development Authority (MDA) will be launching a Content Standards Study to evaluate whether its current content standards and policies remain in line with community expectations.

The minister needs to understand that in some cases, the results of such studies can be skewed to serve the wants of a certain community.

It is clear that MDA no longer has its finger on the pulse and the conservatives have caved in to public pressure. The majority seem to take a more liberal view on this issue.

With the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and availability of such materials there, the question to ask is whether the methods that MDA uses are still relevant in this day and age.