Looking ahead into space age conflict

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 October, 1996, 12:00am

The country is finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile the conflicting goals of creating a modern, technology-oriented society and preserving its conservative cultural and religious character.

This is particularly so in terms of access to the external information required for development.

In the same week that the Government introduced legislation in Parliament to give a space age dimension to its broadcasting regulations and a new station went to air with 30 satellite-beamed television and radio channels, there has been a chorus of calls for tighter censorship.

Malaysians have also been debating the cancellation of a concert by American superstar Michael Jackson and complaining about heavy-handed censorship of foreign magazines.

The new satellite transmissions by the All Asia Television and Radio Company (ASTRO) will be monitored by the Information Ministry and Malaysians will only be allowed to buy dishes capable of receiving the Malaysian station's Ku-Band signals.

But government backbenchers called for stricter censorship of all television programmes.

Badruddin Amirluddin, an MP from the ruling National Front coalition, said the aim must be to 'prevent moral decadence'.

He said local television stations were responsible for inculcating unhealthy trends and eroding traditional values among the young.

Another government backbencher said there was a need for 'negative elements' to be filtered out of foreign television programmes.