The first in the series kicked off on Thursday, February 16 with the topic, “Should Politics Interfere In Arts?” Panellists were Dr Awang Sariyan, Director-General Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Dato’ Dr Anwar Ridhwan, a national laureate and Aziz Desa, a programme producer with TV9. The discussion was moderated by Malim Ghazali PK.
The moderator started the ball rolling by asking whether there was interference in arts. And if so, what were the consequences?
Aziz Desa alluded to the controversial book, Interlok, which had outraged the Indian community who consider the contents as an affront to their race and beliefs.
Dato’ Dr Anwar was of the opinion that interference was sometimes necessary, particularly when used to change the mind-sets of the people. Awang said that there were both positive and negative effects whenever politics interfere in arts. Negative interference, he reasoned, was unavoidable.
All three panellists shared their experiences as to the advantages and disadvantages of political interference. They, however, concurred that a balance was needed in order to tread the fine line.