Malaysian Government Claims Insulting The Queen With A Spotify Playlist Is A Threat To National Security

from the to-be-fair,-your-highness,-it-does-have-some-absolute-bangers dept

The government of Malaysia has never been shy about censoring uppity citizens for doing things like, say, exposing massive government corruption. But it also has some royalty to shield from the content created by disgruntled citizens. That's why it recently welcomed a "fake news" law into the fold, giving the government (and the royalty it ultimately serves) yet another censorial weapon to deploy.

A local artist is the latest under the jackboot, accused of making Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah feel bad by compiling a [checks report] Spotify playlist.

Malaysian police arrested an artist on Friday for allegedly insulting the queen by posting a satirical playlist online.

The playlist riffed off a recent controversy over the royal family and coronavirus vaccines.

The artist was detained for uploading a playlist featuring a portrait of the queen and songs that included the word "jealously," senior police official Huzir Mohamed said in a statement.

Fahmi Reza actually had to take his seditious business to Apple after Spotify kept taking down his playlist. It's still up at Apple Music for the moment (archived here) and it contains plenty of songs containing variations of the word "jealous."

Yeah, it's kind of just one joke, really. But it's obviously an effective one. The playlist turns the Queen's dismissive response to concerned subjugates against her. According to local reports, the Queen secured COVID vaccines for herself and her family through some powerful United Arab Emirates connections. When residents complained, the Queen pithily asked them if they were "jealous."

So, obviously a deserving target of criticism. But when the most deserving target has all the power, things tend to turn out badly for those doing the criticizing. Somehow, this jealousy-focused playlist threatens the security of the Malaysian people.

Fahmi was being investigated for breaking Malaysia's sedition and communications laws. He faces up to three years if convicted under the act, Huzir said.

"Tough action will be taken without any compromise against anyone who intentionally threatens public security," the police official added.

Three years for a one-joke playlist. And it makes the point with all the subtlety a 101-song playlist composed with the assistance of a single search term can. But equally unsubtle is the government's response. Insulting the royal family may be bad form but it shouldn't be illegal. And this definitely doesn't threaten the security of the nation. It only highlights the insecurity of the family sitting at the top of the country's org chart.

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Filed Under: fahma reza, free speech, insults, malaysia, playlist, queen, sedition, tunku azizah aminah maimunah
Companies: apple, spotify


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  1. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 28 Apr 2021 @ 5:04pm

    Playlist items

    Is the playlist still up? If so, I wonder if the playlist has Natalie Merchant's "Jealousy" or the Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy"…


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