Malaysia denies curbs on Tamil TV shows (Lead)

June 3rd, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 3 (IANS) Malaysia Tuesday denied it had banned Tamil TV shows from being aired on state controlled media, saying the accusation was “baseless”. “Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) through its Family Channel~RTM2 has not banned the airing of imported Tamil drama series… the accusation is baseless,” a statement issued here by the director general of the Department of Broadcasting said.

“RTM will keep on airing Tamil films and programmes produced by local production houses as well as imported programmes,” the statement added.

“However, there are cases (in which some) programmes cannot be aired because they failed to meet RTM quality and regulations.

“RTM has a quality assessment committee to ensure that the programme meets the requirement of the stations and at the same time all programmes are subject to the assessment of Film Censorship Board under the ministry of home affairs,” the statement added.

RTM2 also broadcasts programmes in languages like English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Arabic, and Spanish, among others, the statement pointed out.

Tamil programmes are aired for 14.5 hours, equivalent to 8.63 percent of airtime per week, the statement said, adding RTM2 has three categories for Tamil programmes on the channel.

“RTM will always revise the need and suitability of multi-languages programmes from time to time. However, RTM will increase the local content of Tamil drama series so as to develop the local content industries to become more competitive and it can go to the world market,” the statement added.

Quoting the Malaysia Namban newspaper, IANS had Tuesday reported that the information ministry had decided to ban the screening of Tamil TV dramas imported from India.

Former minister and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president S. Samy Vellu lamented that the decision to ban such dramas was surprising as India was the only country that produced Tamil dramas for Malaysian viewers, Malaysia Namban said.

Vellu said that MIC secretary general and Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam had raised the matter at this week’s cabinet meeting.

Tamil programmes are popular among the 2.6 million Malaysian Indians, the bulk of whom are Tamil settlers.

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