Malaysia: New guidance for Curated Content Providers

In brief

The Guidelines for Online Curated Content Service Providers ("Guidelines") introduce new content classification ratings and set out general best practices, for those who offer curated content directly to paying subscribers via the internet or computer networks, whether foreign or local ("Curated Content Providers").


In more detail

The Guidelines were issued by the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia ("Content Forum") on 20 December 2023, after extensive collaboration with both local and foreign industry stakeholders.1

The Guidelines only apply to Curated Content Providers; they do not apply to:

  • Providers who make available user generated contents
  • Intermediaries who provide access to a repertoire of online curated content providers

In the spirit of self-regulation, the Guidelines do not have the force of law, but the Content Forum may advise withdrawal of content that is against the prohibitions in the Guidelines.

Content classification

The Guidelines require all content to be classified. Curated Content Providers may either self-classify using the ratings and guidance in the Guidelines, or follow other similar appropriate classification guidelines:

  • U – general viewing
  • P13 – parental guidance for children below 13 years
  • 16 – for 16 years and above
  • 18 – mature for 18 years and above
  • 21 – restricted to 21 years and above

Notably, the Guidelines highlight certain content which will be refused classification or banned e.g., exploitative depictions of nudity, detailed and instructive depictions of drug or psychoactive substance abuse etc.

Other prohibited content includes:

  • Child pornography
  • Deliberate and malicious disrespect towards the Malaysian flag, emblems, anthems etc.
  • Deliberate calls for terrorism or violence against the country or state institutions
  • Deliberate calls for violence against segments of the population
  • Infringement of copyright knowingly
  • Undermining of national/public interest, security or order
  • Detrimental to Malaysia's relationship with other countries
  • Extremist or anarchic messages

Best practices

The Guidelines share some similarities in some aspects with the Governance Framework for Online Curated Content (OCC) Services published by the Asia Video Industry Association.

The key expectations of Curated Content Providers in the Guidelines include:

  • Prioritizing "safety by design" such that Curated Content Providers include features to restrict access to content not intended for all audiences
  • Displaying classification ratings prominently, and with consumer advisory for content rated 'P13' and above (e.g., "Rated 18 for Strong Violence")
  • Informing viewers about sensitive theme or depictions with e.g., pre-roll advisory, on-screen notifications etc.
  • Exercising due caution and discretion when featuring activities, beliefs, views etc. of any racial or religious groups
  • Taking reasonable efforts to improve accessibility to persons with disabilities
  • Ensuring due impartiality in factual programmes dealing with public policy matters or controversial issues of public importance in Malaysia
  • Incorporating appropriate rating symbols and consumer advisory in promotional and publicity materials for content rated '16' and above
  • Editing tag-on promotional trailers to the equivalent or lower classification standard of the content being tagged on (note that tag-on trailers for content rated 'P13' and above, are not allowed in content rated 'U')
  • Providing mechanism for consumers to provide feedback


The Guidelines provide a more tailored guidance to Curated Content Providers and work to supplement the existing Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code. While not legally binding, Curated Content Providers may wish to align their practices with the Guidelines as a reflection of self-regulation and commitment to global best practices and standards.


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