The World is screaming, What is Sub Judice?

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IS THIS SUB JUDICE?

(Update 28 Jan 07 11.58hrs)

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From the Berita Harian 25th January 2007 

Pemilik blog tidak ‘kalis’ undang-undang  

KUALA LUMPUR: Pelbagai pihak berpendapat tindakan undang-undang terhadap pengendali laman forum atau blog di internet, tidak akan menjejaskan hak kebebasan bersuara atau bermaklumat di negara ini.Mereka berpendapat, tindakan itu malah dapat membantu memastikan pengendali laman forum atau blog supaya lebih bertanggungjawab terhadap kandungan bahan yang disiarkan bagi mengelak sebarang implikasi negatif.Ia berikutan tindakan pengendali blog yang menyebarkan fitnah tanpa bukti kukuh boleh memberi implikasi negatif besar bukan saja kepada individu atau sesebuah organisasi, tetapi juga negara.Presiden Majlis Peguam
Malaysia, Yeo Yang Poh, berkata sebarang bentuk sebaran fitnah sama ada dari segi percakapan atau penulisan boleh dikenakan tindakan mengikut Akta Hasutan.
Beliau berkata, mangsa yang difitnah sendiri perlu membuktikan bahawa sebaran terbabit mempunyai unsur fitnah sebelum proses pendakwaan di mahkamah boleh dibuat.Presiden Persatuan Peguam Syarie
Malaysia, Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, berkata tindakan undang-undang terhadap pengendali laman forum atau blog boleh dibuat kerana kebebasan bersuara bukan sesuatu yang mutlak dan perlu mempunyai had.
“Jika kebebasan bersuara sehingga menafikan hak orang lain, itu tidak betul dan dalam Islam sendiri, kesalahan memfitnah itu adalah lebih berat daripada membunuh,” katanya.Kelmarin, Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berkata pemilik laman forum atau blog tidak bebas daripada dikenakan tindakan undang-undang serta harus bertanggungjawab terhadap apa yang mereka lakukan.Perdana Menteri berkata, walaupun kerajaan berpegang kepada dasar tidak menapis kandungan di internet, pengendali blog harus memahami ada undang-undang fitnah dan hasutan yang boleh dikuatkuasakan.“Mereka tidak boleh menyembunyikan diri atau mengambil kesempatan melakukan sesuatu melanggar undang-undang. Mereka harus tahu dan tidak boleh melindungi serta berharap dilindungi dengan perlindungan tertentu.Abdullah berkata, media sama ada cetak, elektronik dan internet termasuk pemilik laman blog mempunyai tanggungjawab dan beliau tidak mahu wujud kebebasan tanpa tanggungjawab kerana ia akan membawa kehancuran.Perdana Menteri berkata demikian mengulas tindakan The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) dan pegawai kanannya memfailkan saman fitnah terhadap Ahirudin Attan dan Ooi Chuan Aun berhubung beberapa artikel dalam laman blog mereka.NSTP dan plaintif lain – Timbalan Pengerusinya, Datuk Kalimullah Hassan; Ketua Eksekutif, Datuk Syed Faisal Albar; Ketua Pengarang Kumpulan, Datuk Hishamuddin Aun dan bekas Pengarang Kumpulan New Straits Times (NST), Brendan Pereira, memfailkan saman itu di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur, 4 Januari lalu.Mengikut laporan akhbar, kedua-dua saman fitnah itu dikemukakan berhubung beberapa artikel dan komen yang disiarkan atau dibenarkan untuk disiarkan oleh Ahirudin dan Ooi dalam laman blog masing-masing.

Sementara itu, seorang peguam, Hasnal Rezua Merican berkata, pengendali blog tidak boleh berpendirian bahawa mereka beroperasi dengan mendapat kebebasan mutlak tanpa mengendahkan undang-undang negara.

“Ia sama dengan penulis buku yang masih tertakluk kepada Akta Fitnah. Ini tidak bermakna, kalau disaman kerana melanggar undang-undang mreka boleh mempertikaikan kononnya ia melanggar hak kebebasan bersuara,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, kalau pengendali blog meminta imuniti seperti itu atas nama kebebasan bersuara, ia boleh menyebabkan penyebaran fitnah berleluasa seterusnya mencetus pelbagai masalah. 

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From The News Straits Times  25th January 2007

Bloggers subject to same rules

25 Jan 2007
Anis Ibrahim
 
KUALA LUMPUR: Bloggers are liable for defamation — just as in other forms of communication, lawyers and other experts said.

Kuala Lumpur Bar chairman Lim Chee Wee said statements on the Internet were simply writings in a different medium.
“You can call them blogs, online forums, websites, they’re all subject to the same defamation laws if offending statements are published,” he said.Lim agreed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who said in
London on Tuesday that although bloggers would not be restricted, they could be subject to defamation, sedition and other laws.
“They cannot hide or take advantage of a situation and do something against the law,” he said.“I also welcome the prime minister’s statement that blogs will not be censored,” Lim said.Law expert Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said there was no doubt the rules of defamation applied to blogs and Internet forums.“The definition of speech covers every form of communication in whatever form, written or symbolic. There is no doubt that bloggers are subject to the same rules.”Asked whether defamation laws in the West were more advanced than
Malaysia’s, Shad Saleem said, “In fact we tend to give people much more freedom to defame because we have no privacy laws unlike most Western countries.”
Lawyer Datuk Dominic Puthucheary, who has represented a major local publication against defamation, said, “Our laws on defamation should be governed by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which provides for freedom of speech, unless limited by Parliament.”There is no law restricting people on the content of their blogs, he said. But “if something is either spoken or written in a permanent form, it is liable for defamation according to basic common law”.That was his advice to a politician on a statement that had been taken from the Internet and broadcast.Puthucheary also drew a line between private and public individuals: “A defamatory statement against a private person is actionable,” he said.“When it comes to public interest issues and the conduct of public officers, it is not defamatory in some jurisdictions unless there is reckless disregard for the truth. But it is still an open question here.”

The former Member of Parliament said the legislature should draft laws to deal with defamation in the “new forms of communication”.

Lawyer Nahendran Navaratnam agreed that legislative changes were needed “to ensure that protection is given both to bloggers and those who are the subject of discussion on the Internet”.

National Union of Journalists president Norila Mohd Daud said it was logical that defamation laws would apply to blog postings.

“Right now our laws do not cover blogs or online forums, but I think it’s simple logic that a defamatory statement can reach the public via any medium, by newspapers, magazines or the Internet.”

Norila also agreed that bloggers had to exercise caution on their websites.

“It is true that bloggers have to be responsible. You can express your opinions but we have to see it from the point of view of the people who are named,” she said. 

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