Monday, March 31, 2008

Bad Blogging and A Legal Suit

NST published 2 letters today. And they're both about blogging and the bad side of blogging.

Here they are:

Use of Internet: Unfair Blogging

I REFER to your report "Raja Petra ordered to pay RM4m in damages" (NST, March 27).

I agree with the judgment of the Alor Star High Court which ordered Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin to pay RM2 million in general damages to Universiti Utara Malaysia vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Nordin Kardi and RM2 million to the university over an article which he posted on his Malaysia Today website two years ago.

This should be a lesson to all bloggers that they cannot write or post articles on their website without considering the implications of their act.

I think other people affected by unfair blogging should consider taking similar action against bloggers.

By Ahmad Zazli Hamid, Ampang, Selangor

Spreading Rumours

MALAYSIANS must be more responsible in their use of alternative media like the Internet and blogs, which can be turned into gossip machines to spread unsavoury stories about everything and everybody.

This is becoming an unhealthy practice among the younger generation.
They give vent to their frustrations by posting rude and vulgar comments on blogs.

Some of the things being discussed have no factual basis and are spread as though they are the truth.

The danger is that people believe them and form judgments based on untruths and half-truths.

If this practice persists, it threatens to turn Malaysians into a nation of rumour-mongers.


I'm beginning to be very suspicious of NST's intention. I know that there is an ongoing defamation suit (it has) against bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan.

It looks like these letters are published to further demonise bloggers.

I'm not saying that NST or any other newspaper should publish only positive stories about blogging and bloggers.

NST's publication of the two letters further demonstrates its stance on bloggers, of which I am very aware. When I say NST, I don't mean the individual editors there. Oh, you know what and who I mean.

The NST's stance on bloggers is -- well, for very obvious reason(s).

I'm saying that NST has, more often than not, published articles that are aimed at discrediting bloggers.

I believe there is a "gentleman's" agreement or understanding between the two parties that no articles should be published that can be deemed subjudice in the court case.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Kak Ena,

Allow me to put my mere 8 years of practising law into perspective while answering the first letter.

What the writer of the letter do not understand, I assume, is that the case was not judged on merits.

The award of RM2 million was granted to the Plaintiff on the basis of technicalities i.e. Raja Petra chosed not to be represented.

I believe Raja Petra is aware of the consequences and one must respect his decision not to appoint legal counsel to file his defence.

As such, the award is not based on merits. The award does not render Raja Petra guilty in publishing his post.

Basically, it is not the award to punish Raja Petra for the contents of the article but merely because Raja Petra is not presented and hence no memorandum of appearance is filed on his behalf.

In situation like this, the Court is deemed to give the judgment in default of appearance against Raja Petra. NOT ON MERIT.

This is my personal view and I stand to be corrected if any other legal eagles out there wishes to add their input.

Thanks Kak Ena for the space and for always championing freedom of speech.

Go bloggers go!

Anonymous said...

Not to worry Muraina. One of the saints of New Straits Times, which would not write anything nasty about, Dr Khir Toyo, is now a blogger. He has joined the company of bloggers you see. And NST will have to explain how it was that Khir Toyo must have said and done so many nasty things in the past as MB and nothing of the sort was written about them. And now he is a blogger. Does that mean their stance is different too about bloggers now?

Anonymous said...

I agree with nst regarding bloggers who lie, the new ones especially, for e.g there's this new blog called liar liar, set up by a former immigrant and mb, these people give blogging a bad name,FAT cheshire cat smilllllllle with twinkling eyes,...

Anonymous said...

Three weeks after getting his ass kicked from Sungai Siput, pubic haired Samy Vellu is in the news again. This time around this looser is winding about the lack of Indian representation in the State Excos ruled by the PKR-DAP-PAS Coalition.

This racist pig has the audacity to say that the Coalition is just like the BN as there is only 1 Indian Exco member. Why doesn't this moron see the big picture. Malaysians, irrespective of race and religion voted for candidates outside of their race and religion because they are all fed up with the divide and rule racial politics of BN. Enough of the hypocrisy and pretending. Malaysians want to move away from race based politics. This means matcha, we Malaysians are sick of UMNO, MCA and MIC. What we want is a Malaysian Malaysia. What we want is Bangsa Malaysia! Comprende amigo?

It doesn't matter to Malaysians anymore if the person chosen to lead is a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban. As long as the person is Malaysian, that's good enough in my book. What's the use of having half a dozen Exco members who are Indians, when they can't do a thing to help the Indian community. This idiot Samy should know better after years of ass kissing UMNO. If you ask me, only a Malaysian can look after the interests of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans.

Wanna know why Samy is suddenly so concerned about the HINDRAF 5? Well, if I know too well, Pak U Lah is under pressure to release them,what more when one of them has been elected to Parliament. To do this,Pak U Lah will look like a jack ass and even worse look weak as a Prime Minister. To make it a win-win situation, Pak U Lah gets old Pubic Hair to appeal to him to have the Hindraf 5 released. Guess what? They will be released. Pak U Lah will get accolades from the likes of Wong Chun Wai, Joscelyn Tan, VK Chin, Bulbir Singh etc.. Old Pubic Hair on the other hand will go to town telling everyone how he can champion the rights of Indians by getting the Hindraf 5 released.

All I can tell Samy is that just forget about re-branding or re-inventing MIC as MIC, UMNO and MCA are going the way of the dinosaurs. People don't support communal based parties anymore. Do the right thing matcha, disband MIC. Your racist threats, views and policies are no longer laku. My final word of advice to you is taken from WWE wrestler Hulk Hogan's famous words "What ya gonna do when Makkal Sakti runs wild on you!!!"

gram.kong said...

My sympathy is with Raja Petra but bloggers should act within the bounds of the law.

Why Raja Petra didn't put up a defence against the originating summons only he knows.

The award given to the plaintiff in default of defence can only mean either Raja Petra had no answers to his defence or he is too arrogant to believe that the court will make judgement against him.

He has caused his own peril by not putting up a defence or counterclaim against specific charges or allegations in the summons.

Pak Tuo said...

Salam Kak,

I personally think we should take heed on the Federal Court ruling if I am not mistaken T.S Vincent Tan case on defamatory remarks.
In the said case the learned Yg.Ariff was concerned on the bulk of defamtion remedy thrown by claming parties.It involved multi million.
From my sixth sense,if that is the main objective of counter suing for defamation thus the court feels that it is an abuse of the legal process for a few.

Its logical from a lay man prespective but what if the quentum of damage is beyond damage control?
Does peeks reward is the remedy?
No easy answer for the learned Yg.Arif.

Demand and more demand.
Any better alternative?
Lets think of one by the wise man Zahid.

Oldstock said...

Salam Puan Nuraina,

You may wish to note that a reader in Haris Ibrahim's blog has suggested an idea that may dent the sales of the MSM for a week (Fair & Accurate Media Week). If this idea gets through, perhaps NST would then give bloggers due credit.

warrior2 said...

Everybody wants free speech and freedom of choice but when someone does soemthing not to another person`s liking, that other person reacts in the negative ways.

Just like us bloggers, we choose and pick our topics based on whatever, god knows what . I cant and I shouldnt fault another blogger for writing certain things. So I dont see anything wrong in thr NST printing those letter in the context of the decision.

We bloggers should know better!

Anonymous said...

I got a feeling he didn't give a damn with the present Malaysian judiciary system. Do you think the system still deserves our respect? Hmmmm, do I smell a rotten fish somewhere? Yes, corret, correct, correct..!

Bergen said...

They're practising freedom of expression. It's the same thing and it's a good thing.


warrior2: i agree. free speech and free expression and anyone is entitled to his or ehr opinion.

mr ahmad and mr singh have a right to their opinion. it is not their opinion i am questioning. it is NST's publicaiton of only these two letters that one-sided.

warrior2...i welome your views because they are always not in agreement wiht mine. and yes...bloggers, of all people, should know better!

Mr. Smith said...

If I write a letter to the NST justifying the use of defamation laws on newspapers that lies, will my letter be published?
If liars must be punished then punish newspapers that lie too.
Why only target bloggers?
Is the pot calling the kettle black?

Anonymous said...


as usual, your holier than thou stance. what about mainstream papers' lies? 40,000 become 4,000. or...15 pages of lies per day during the election period? who sanctions them? aint they worst than bloggers? worst, when one preaches from their high moral and religious grounds as chief editor and yet lie continuous without blinking an eye, what is your reaction to this fellas? ok becasue they have to cari makan and have the trappinps of life that come with their position? bulbir, your reaction?

Anonymous said...

just wondering, can someone like kali be a gentleman in a fight? its the survival of the fittest and kali is one up with all his legal bills for this case being paid by Nasty Pee. Just feel sorry for the shareholders of Nasty Pee but then what the hack, afterall the major shareholder is UMNO. may be for the minorities, then.

Anonymous said...

glad you made your stand clear nuraina kaur!

maybe nst did not have any pro blogger letters that day

let's wait and see if they will publish any

Anonymous said...

bad blogging? how does one define that? poor writing skills or unsavoury contents? are both the writers of those letters assuming that readers are a dim witted lot that cannot digest and analyse?

Donplaypuks® said...

Bulbir, Lam Thye, Vijayaratnam. This trio of windbags, it seems, can always get their (voluminous, longwinded, pompous and sweet-saccharine oh, so laissez faire) letters published in NST & STAR anytime they want to.

Then there is always that cloyingly one-sided BN carrying b..l s..t pieces by VC Chin & Bunn Nagara.

Also,that 'vote carefully with your future in mind' Dato Wong who will go down soon with the demise of BN. Now Wong is busy interviewing DSIA and PR politicians. Oh, how some leopards can change their spots faster than Copperfield and Blane!!

I have tried for the last 30 years to get 1 letter published there without success. My proposed letters, albeit a little critical of BN, were no more than a couple of paras.

So, if the majority of citizens are shut out by blatant censorship, at the behest of the virtually Govt. monopolised MSM (main stream media), then they can only go to the court of last resort i.e. the WWW. Remember Drefuss, Emile Zola & 'J'accuse'?

With regard to the Raja Petra award case, it's not quite over yet. There is an appeals process that has not even begun. So, it's not game over, only lbw (cricket for leg before wicket, lol) at the moment.

What amazes me is that virtually unknown people and organisations can command defamation awards of $7million.

When Vincent Tan was awarded $10 million (wrongly I believe, in the MCG Pillai case), at least we could say that he (whether we like him or not)was a corporate figure of some renown, locally and internationally. He therefore had a $10 million reputation to protect. Tan is believed to be worth $1 billion, at least.

If we then take the personalities involved and their (relatively unknown public standing or fame) in the UUM case, the damages awarded should be no more than

Instead, an almost mind-boggling sum of $7 million has been awarded without RPK being called to defend himself, by an Asst. Registrar.

Something stinks,and at that, to High Heaven!!

Anonymous said...

Cik Nuraina

Innocent until proven guilty. Basic legal concept, yes?

Rapists, murderers and robbers have their day in court.

Why not those targetted by bloggers? Are they not entitled to defend themselves using the provisions of the law?

Or do bloggers have a sacrosanct immunity against criticism and legal redress? Or can they tell the law and the courts to go stick it you-know-where?

zazliah said...

Dear Nuraina,

I wish to respond to the posting by Elviza on 3 April 08 under title "Bad Blogging And A Legal Suit".

First let me make myself clear. When I wrote to the "readers' Write Column" NST I was not delving into the merits or demerits of the suite against Raja Petra. My intention was mainly to focus on the responsibility of a blogger.

The law will not stop anyone from blogging and saying his/her piece but you cannot cross the line. If your posting is damaging to the other party and he takes offence as in the case of Raja Petra vs the VC of UUM, then you have to face the consequences. The fact that Raja Petra failled to appear in Court to defend himself can only mean two things, either he has no defense at all or he is too arrogant to appear in Court.

I am not a lawyer. I am just an ordinary person and I am not allign to any political grouping although I support the ruling government. But what we would like to see is that Malaysians, whether they are politicians, bloggers, members of NGOs, government servants, social activists, etc. are being truthful, honest, civil minded, rationale and responsible in their reporting.

So to me how much the Alor Star High Court assessed the damage suffered by the VC, the merits and demerits, is the prerogative of the High Court itself and certainly none of my business. But I want to stress to all bloggers that while nothing can stop you from expressing yourself freely, nonetheless please remember everything has a perimeter and if you cross the line then expect to be chastised.

Zazli Hamid


Saudara Ahmad Zazli,

Thank you for you clarification.

Indeed, I do understand your point. And yes I do agree that bloggers should be responsible for what they write and if what they write angers people, or is defamatory, then, they --like everyone else -- are subject to whatever response or reaction from society, or the "target" of their criticisms.

ANd I hope, saudari Elviza is reading this and also appreciates your explanation.

Thank you.