Research on Malaysian Bloggers

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bloggers sued: A chronology of events

*Update*
For up to date developments of the case, do check out the Bloggers United Official Page, or the Walk With Us blog.

11 Jan 2007: A thread was opened at MyKMU.net with the following post:

Blogger politikus terkenal Ahiruddin Attan @ Rocky Bru dan Jeff Ooi telah dihantar notis oleh Kalimullah Hassan, Brendan Perreira dan Hishamuddin Aun untuk menarik balik beberapa artikel artikel dalam blog mereka. Kegagalan akan menyebabkan mereka disaman.

Dalam masa yang sama juga, blogger "poster wayang" terkenal, Sheih @ kickdefella juga akan diambil tindakan tetapi belum diketahui lagi tindakan yang jenis bagaimana.

Translated: Socio-political bloggers Ahiruddin Attan @ Rocky Bru and Jeff Ooi have been sent warnings by
Kalimullah Hassan, Brendan Perreira dan Hishamuddin Aun to retract a few articles from their blogs. The failure to do so will get them sued.

At the same time, "film poster" blogger Sheih @ kickdefella will also be taken action upon. It is not known what kind of actions will be taken.


12 January 2007: Merdekareview reported this:


【本刊林宏祥撰述】由于在部落格张贴批评《新海峡时报》(New Straits Times)与高层的贴文,著名Screenshots部落客黄泉安及Rocky's Bru部落客阿西鲁丁(Ahirudin bin Attan)接获信函,限令他们取下其部落格的相关文章,否则将被起诉;另外,以改编电影海报讽刺首相阿都拉巴达威闻名的KickDeFella部落客Sheih也接获类似信函,惟诉方并非来自新海峡时报集团。

此消息在巫统虚拟网站俱乐部KMU)上已经引起热烈的讨论,在前首相马哈迪与阿都拉角力期间,部分舆论力指《新海峡时报》高层阿都拉女婿凯里(Khairy Jamaluddin朋党,阿都拉智囊团大本营。因此,三名部落客的遭遇被视为惩戒“逆着阿都拉激流”(menentang arus AAB-Abdullah Ahmad Badawi)的行动。[...]

Translation: Because of blog posts criticisizing the NST and its higher level management, famous bloggers Jeff Ooi of Screenshots and Ahirudin bin Attan of RockyBru have received letters to retract articles in question or be sued in court. Blogger Sheih of KickDeFella, famous for his film posters poking fun at the PM has also got similar letters, but not from the NSTP.

This piece of news has been discussed heatedly in the Kumpulan Menyokong UMNO Forum (KMU). In the battle between former PM Mahathir and Abdullah Badawi, some sources have pointed that the higher level officials of NST are connected to the PM's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and they are part of the PM's camp. Therefore, this case is seen as the consequence of going against AAB. [...]


13 Jan 2007: Sheih from Kickdefella launches the "Bloggers United" campaign, urging bloggers to put the following image on their blogs, in support of free speech for bloggers.


14 Jan 2007: Veteran journalist, Nuraini A. Samad blogs about the affair.

18 Jan 2007: Rocky and Jeff confirm that they have been served papers, here and here.

From Rocky:
Unchartered waters. None of us have passed this way before, so I shall have to tread carefully. I'll need you to tread carefully, too, when you leave your comments.
I have been served the papers. They dropped them on Tuesday evening, around 9.30 pm, at the National Press Club. They are applying for an injunction against Rocky's Bru, this blog. They are suing me for libel.
[They have also served Jeff Ooi of Screenshots the papers].

In the case against me, "they" are:

1. The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad (No. Syarikat 4485-H)
2. Kalimullah Bin Masheerul Hassan
3. Hishamuddin Bin Aun
4. Syed Faisal Albar Bin Syed A.R. Albar
5. Brenden John a/l John Pereira

The plaintiffs have cited 48 postings (under Schedule 1, the List of Defamatory Articles complained of in the Statement of Claims filed in this action).
I am now looking for a lawyer to represent me.
The application for injunction comes up on Jan 25 at the High Court.
Thank you for the support. God bless.


And from Jeff:
The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, Kalimullah bin Masheerul Hassan, Hishamuddin bin Aun and Brendan John a/l John Pereira have jointly taken an order, via an ex-parte injunction obtained in the High Court of Malaya Kuala Lumpur (Civil Suit No. S6-23-3-2007) on January 11, 2007, against this blogger.

The abovementioned parties' application for an injunction has been fixed for a hearing at the same court on January 30, 2007 at 9.00am.

My lawyers are now taking care of it.

Meanwhile, Screenshots was informed that journo-blogger Ahiruddin Attan (Rocky's Bru) has been served January 16 a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim by the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad and four others, dated January 11.

The parties' application for an injunction against Rocky has been fixed for a hearing on January 25, 2007.



Malaysiakini picks up the story here. Besides all that were covered previously, Malaysiakini provides further context of what might be the source of defamation, i.e.:

In Nov 2006, Ahirudin and Jeff were embroiled in controversy with NSTP when they revealed that a column in the New Straits Times on Oct 30 under group editor Brendan Pereira’s by-line bore a strong resemblance in style and structure to a column by Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press of Sept 10, 2006.

The NSTP later announced that Pereira will end his term of service as group editor of NST on Dec 31 and rejected the allegations of plagiarism.

They have also alleged that Kallimullah and NST are Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s spin doctors.


Bloggers of English, Malay and Chinese languages have all lent their support to this case in the form of posting the "Bloggers United" image. See here for the compilation of a list by another blogger.

This case does not only affect the fore-runners of socio-political blogging in Malaysia - the result of the battle of David(s) against Goliath will clarify the actual power of freedom of speech online in Malaysia. If won, this may very well be the second major scalp against mainstream media. The case lost may, in Tony Pua's words, "scare the rest of the foot soldiers into submission and anonymity".

Read injunction and libel in Wikipedia for further information.

1 Comments:

  • its really strange that your blog which claims to do research on malaysian bloggers doesnt mention the bloggers united official page that we launched here http://sloone.wordpress.com/bloggers-united/
    and which also carried the press statement that sheih and i drafted together.

    By Anonymous susan loone, at 8:02 PM  

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