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Finas regrets Deepavali clip offended Hindus

Contributed by Anonymous on Thursday, November 11 @ 23:36:46 CST

ReligionThe Sun,
Natalie Heng KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11, 2010): National Film Development Corporation (Finas) director-general Mohd Mahyidin Mustakim today expressed regret that a two-minute clip it had produced in conjunction with Deepavali had inadvertently touched on the sensitivities of Hindus. "We thought it was done in a good manner but when we saw it touched on the sensitivities of people, we immediately stopped it," he said in a telephone interview.

"We regret that it touched on sensitivities, and will be more careful in future," he said, adding that the video clip which was aired over  RTM, TV3 and Astro  from Nov 5 was withdrawn after three days when public complaints against it began to surface. Mahyidin said Finas had not received any complaint when the public service announcement (PSA) video was previewed by some of its Indian staff as well people outside of Finas before it was released on air. He said the storyline had been thought up by a small internal production team made of youths who were trying to incorporate a portrayal of multi-cultural acceptance, with the intention of depicting the spirit of 1Malaysia. The clip featured an Indian Muslim convert and his Malay wife visitng his parent's home for the Deepavali festive season. A controversial scene in the video depicted the Muslim wife being reluctant to eat at her in-law's family dinner table until a Malay neighbour arrived to say that she had prepared the food in a halal manner. "It implies our food is uncivilised," said national treasurer of the Federation of Indian Organisations Victor Suppiah who was among a group of  protesters who handed over memorandums of protest at both Finas and Astro headquarters this afternoon. The group which claimed to represent about 40 Indian non-governmental organisation (NGOs) also lodged a police report at the Bukit Jalil police station claiming the video clip was seditious in nature as it provoked the sensitivities of Hindus. It also called on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commision (MCMC) to investigated the issue.  They also urged the government to introduce clearer guidelines on the prohibition of subject matter relating to religious conversions and how it is portrayed in the public media. "The current policy guidelines are vague," said Malaysia Hindu Sangam youth leader Arun Doraisamy in calling for a dialogue on the issue between concerned NGOs, Finas and Astro, saying it would help to reveal shortcomings in current policies and help avert similar incidents in  future. He said doing so would not only benefit Hindus but other religions as well as an umbrella guideline from the ministry that was clearly spelled out would help writers, directors and other relevant persons wanting to portray the 1 Malaysia vision. Meanwhile, an Astro spokesperson who met the group to accept the memorandum said the PSA had been aired by Astro as a requirement by all licensee holders under the MCMC.



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