Bloggers get sued
20, January, 2007 1 Comment
In my last posting, I wrote a note of caution about bloggers writing negative comments online. While there is nothing wrong with writing negative comments, bloggers need to ensure that what they say is accurate, or risk getting into trouble. It is naive to think that you can post anything you like and get away with impunity.
Yesterday, we heard news that the Malaysian paper, The New Straits Times, has sued a couple of Malaysian bloggers for defamation: NST sues bloggers. The case is a landmark case, as many see it as a test of how new media is perceived in Malaysia. It’ll be interesting if laws for traditional media will also be used to judge the case involving new media.
However, this case is different from the mean bloggers I mentioned previously. It has been complicated due to political undertones or rather, overtones. The leading Maysian newspaper has sued two bloggers, Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi over postings in their respective blogs for defamation. The pair had been attacking top company officials. Apparently, the two bloggers have been reflecting pro-Mahathir sentiments, and NST is owned by the ruling party, UMNO.
This is the first time bloggers have been sued for libel in Malaysia, and some say that this is curtailing the freedom of expression, especially when Internet communications has been increasing amidst government controls on mainstream media. Many feel that tightening control will have an impact on democratic principles in the country, and will have a detrimental impact on citizen journalism and the growing blogospehere in the country.
There is no doubt the verdict of the case will be eagerly awaited by users of both new and mainstream media alike, in Malaysia as well as the rest of the world.