Here are the ‘dirty words’ MCMC doesn’t want you to hear on TV, radio

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
A screenshot of the cover of the 16-page guideline published by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commision, listing down ‘prohibited words’ in TV and radio broadcast.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 ― The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commision (MCMC) has published recently a 16-page guideline, listing down “prohibited words” in TV and radio broadcast.

It said the guideline is aimed at those who are directly or indirectly involved in local private broadcast agencies, including publishers, editors, authors, programme hosts, and radio presenters.

According to MCMC, the guideline was formulated from a workshop on October 3, 2017 with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Film Censorship Board, Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, Commercial Radio Malaysia, and content licensees.

It categorised “impolite” language into seven categories, including “impolite” names for institutions and organisations like “DAPig”, “Umngok”, “TV tiga suku” and “Utusex” ― referring to political parties DAP and Umno, and media outfit TV3 and Utusan Malaysia.

Other categories included “impolite” names for individuals like “Mat Mongol” and “Maha Firaun”, and likening individuals with animals, body parts, and objects.

It also cautioned against terms with religious and racial overtones, such as “kafir” and “murtad” which mean “infidel” and “apostate”, and “tongsan” which is a derogatory term used against the ethnic Chinese.

It also warned against showing content which uses obscene language and profanities, to “prevent violation of manners, decency, and offending the public”.

The guideline was attached with an appendix listing down various profanities and prohibited words in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tamil, Hindi, and Chinese.

In English, this included prohibited terms and phrases “f***”, “c***”, “bastard”, “hand job”, and “blowjob”, and prohibited slang words such as “p****”, “s***”, “butt”, and “douche”.

Media practitioners were also advised to form an internal content control handle age classifications of programmes aired, to ensure it is suitable to the audience.

Industry sources told Malay Mail that the guideline was delivered in November last year to several agencies such as Media Prima, Astro, TV channels TV3, TV9, NTV7 and TV AlHijrah, Telekom Malaysia, and radio stations BFM, 988 FM, Ikim FM, Best FM, iM4U FM and City Plus FM.

It is uncertain if the guideline is even enforceable, but MCMC had said that it should be referred in tandem with the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, its Content Code, and the Home Ministry’s Film Censorship Guideline 2010.