The southeastern Asian nation of Malaysia has banned television and radio programs programs that feature gay characters, an effort to curb the “influence” of the LGBT community, the country’s Information Department has confirmed.
“If it means cancelling some of the shows, so be it,” he said.
D’Cruz said the decision will be expanded to cover privately-owned stations as well as satellite TV providers, reported the Malaysia Star.
“Effective immediately, radio and TV stations are asked to stop screening shows which feature gay, effeminate men as well as characters that go against the norm of a religious society because this encourages and promotes LGBT now,” said a directive issued Thursday by the Information Department.
As for foreign productions, D’Cruz said the Censorship Board will remove episodes from running TV shows and bar movies with gay characters from being screened locally.
According to the country’s Culture Minister, guidelines would be produced for TV and radio stations on how to avoid allowing LGBT characters on screen or the air waves.
LGBT rights are not recognized in Malaysia, where gay sex is illegal and punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Last year, Malaysian school authorities sent 66 Muslim teenage boys to a correctional camp to learn “masculine behaviors” after their teachers identified them as effeminate.