Two bloggers sued in MalaysiaMonday, January 22, 2007 at 1:55 | Posted in Bloggers' rights, Blogosphere, censorship, Freedom of speech, internet, malaysia | 6 Comments
The High Court of Malaya Kuala Lumpur is scheduled to have separate hearings shortly on two ground breaking lawsuits against high profiled Malaysian bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan. The bloggers are being sued by New Straits Times (NST), a newspaper close to the Malaysian government. The paper is seeking injunction and unspecified damages for several allegedly defamatory articles in the two blogs.
Several bloggers in Malaysia have published a joint statement under the banner Bloggers United. The bloggers regard the lawsuits as an attempt to censor the public debate in the cyberspace and introduce a media of one single “official truth”. The statement calls for each blogger’s right to publish their uncensored opinion in the web:
As responsible bloggers, we demand and claim our space on the blogosphere for free and fair comment, where important national issues and prominent personalities are discussed.
Although it may seem as if the NSTP defamation suits will have a chilling effect on freedom of bloggers, as litigation can be expensive and may jeorpadise a blogger’s economic position, we will not be cowed or silenced by those who have no regard for free speech.
If you find our post offensive, you may refute us with correct facts and figures and fair comment, in the spirit of free speech.
The Malaysian government has promised never to censor the cyberspace which is why the country has no specific legislation regulating the free speech on line. The lawsuits have been raised under Malaysia’s conventional defamation laws.
The cases will be heard by the High Court on 25th and 30th January. I am keeping an eye on the developments.
Edit: Read also Another hearing in Kuala Lumpur