Malaysia Bans Gay Characters From TV
Malaysia's Information Department announced that it has banned television shows that feature gay characters. Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz, the state's deputy information, communications and culture minister, recently confirmed the measure, the Malaysian newspaper the Star reported.
Maglin said the ban would start right away but only impact state-owned TV and radio stations for now.
"If it means cancelling some of the shows, so be it," he told the newspaper. He also said that the decision was made in order to decrease the "influence" of the LGBT community and that it will soon affect privately owned stations and satellite TV providers. Maglin added that the Censorship Board will also prohibit episodes of TV programs from other countries from airing as well as movies with gay characters from being screened locally.
"Effective immediately, radio and TV stations are asked to stop screening shows which feature gay, effeminate men as well as characters that go against the norm of a religious society because this encourages and promotes LGBT now," said a directive that was issued by the Information Department on its official Facebook page last week.
But on Friday, the department made another Facebook update and said that the directive was just a "discussion topic." Nevertheless, Maglin said that the directive is still in effect and that there will soon be a guideline on how to avoid putting LGBT characters on TV and radio.
The newspaper then asked the official about programs that are hosted by "men who appear effeminate." Maglin said that the shows would be fine "because they are born this way," contradicting what the initial Facebook posting says.
According to Wikipedia, the government banned LGBT persons from the state media since 1994 and in 2010 the Malaysian Film Censorship Board said it would only allow depiction of gay characters as long as they "repent" or die.
Members of Malaysia's LGBT community have hardly any rights. The country has a criminal ban on sodomy and oral sex, which is applicable to heterosexuals and homosexuals. Punishments for sodomy include fines, prison sentences of up to 20 years and possibly corporal punishment.
The country does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions.