Censors and moralisers continually succeed not just because politicians of all stripes are by nature morally conservative and stiff-lipped, and because the media is full of people who love to whip up moral panics to increase sales. By David Flint
Malaysia's religious affairs minister has ordered portraits of LGBT activists to be
removed from an arts festival in Penang.
Portraits of activists Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik, who champion the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, were taken down on the orders of Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
Dr Mujahid said promoting LGBT activities was not in line with the new Pakatan Harapan administration's policies. He told reporters at the Parliament lobby: I was informed of the exhibition that showcased their pictures, along with the rainbow
pride flag, in a public gallery.
I contacted the state government to check if the claim is true, and I have consistently repeated in Parliament that we do not support the promotion of LGBT culture in Malaysia.
Ms Nisha and Mr Pang's portraits were removed from the month-long Stripes and Strokes exhibition at the George Town Festival in Penang. They were portrayed holding the Jalur Gemilang, Malaysia's flag, in prints captured by photographer Mooreyameen
The exhibition sponsor, Datuk Vinod Sekhar, criticised the decision:
How could this happen in Penang? I expected more from the Penang government. We should be enlightening people, changing their mindsets - not reacting to people who are close-minded.
The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA's) Complaints Board has found a TV commercial advertising new caramelised white chocolate biscuits was not racist.
The ruling comes after the board received a complaint that a TV advertisement for Griffins' Toffee Pops claiming offensive dialogue with racist overtones.
The commercial featured three milk chocolate and one white chocolate biscuits on a plate, with the white biscuit saying it was a luxurious caramelised biscuit when told its coating looked interesting by a fellow biscuit.
When a milk chocolate biscuit asks if it tastes delicious, former All Black Carlos Spencer bites into the white chocolate biscuit and says Mmm, that's delicious.
The complainant said the narrative of the commercial was racist. The colour of a biscuit character's face is called into question in terms of whether they might be as good to eat as the other characters, they wrote. It encourages racism and with
the animated style is likely to appeal to children. Horrible and hateful role modelling in a multicultural society.
The Complaints Board commented:
There was a minority on the board that said there was a judgemental tone in the advertisement, due to it singling out the white chocolate biscuit for looking different.
However, the board ultimately ruled the advertisement had not breached the Code of Ethics or Children and Young People's Advertising Code.