May 15, 2004

Stations with foreign ads irk Cabinet


JOHOR BARU: The Cabinet, annoyed with the frequent airing of foreign-produced commercials by private television stations, has asked for a stop to the advertisements.
Information Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said several ministers asked at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting about the abundance of foreign-made commercials.
They felt it was “unbecoming” of the local stations, he told a press conference after meeting his ministry staff.
Abdul Kadir said the Cabinet had asked him to convey its unhappiness against the stations.
“The ministers were of the opinion that the commercials not only did not have any local content, some could even be described as obscene.
“So they have asked me to tell the stations to stop airing the commercials immediately or face action,” he said.
He declined to name the stations, adding: “There are only a handful of private television stations in the country.”
According to ministry officials, among the commercials which received the wrath of the Cabinet were the Pepsi advertisement that featured singers Britney Spears, Pink and Beyonce in ancient Gladiator-like costumes that exposed much of their body, and the Visa credit card commercial that featured the tut-tut three-wheel taxi of Thailand.
Abdul Kadir said television stations should be extremely sensitive with local sentiments especially in matters relating to the dressing of the models in the commercials.
“We don’t intend to restrict your freedom but it should not be abused,” he warned the stations, adding that they should have “a little self-restriction” when it comes to such matters.

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