Some readers have questioned my arguments on the defamation suit against Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru in Are Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru chooks?
They asked the same stuff as did some commentators which I alluded to in the previous posting - in essence what's so special about Jeff and Ahirudin that they shouldn't be sued?
If they had read my posting more closely, they would have noticed I wrote: "My take is that neither Jeff Ooi nor Ahiridin Attan is unique. But what is unique has been a set of circumstances, as follows: ..." going on then to discuss the 'set of circumstances' rather than NST leaders' right to sue Jeff and Rocky.
My first observation and indeed query has been: "Look mate, it's the same bloke who's hostile to Jeff. He had pursued Jeff before, so ho hum, what would be new this time, excuse me yawnnn?"
Then on one of the defamation issues, the case of plagiarism, what about the BBC which also reported on the same issue, indeed worldwide.
I recalled there was a threat to sue the BBC unless it withdrew its news report. I also recall the BBC stating the report had been entirely legitimate.
OK, so where's the NST's treat to sue the BBC for the same social sin? As malaysiakini reader, Nathaniel Tan, lamented: "The NSTP has demanded the BBC retract their story over the same matter and angrily threatened to sue. But today, the BBC article still stands, and there hasn't been a whiff of a lawsuit against them.”
Mind you, malaysiakini informed us that it has been brought to its attention that NSTP has initiated legal proceedings against the BBC involving the said article. But then, that’s only "been brought to its attention". What is fact is personalities in the NSTP have launched a defamation suit against two ikan bilis (small fry) Malaysian bloggers rather than the BBC for saying the same thing.
Another malaysiakini reader Michael reminded us succinctly of the difference between an online newspaper and a blog. Relevant extracts of his letter are as follows:
All blogs usually post that these are of opinions of the author only. Similar to writing letters to the editor of Malaysiakini or The News Straits Times or The Star. How is it any different?
No matter what your beliefs are, no matter what you think facts are facts and the fact here is that blogs are defined as a personal diary or journal (not to be confused with newspapers which are suppose to report news and the truth). Blogs have never stated their contents are the actual truth but only an opinion of one person(s) that may or may not agree with those of other people.
Look up the definition of blogs and bloggers and you will find hundreds of sites and dictionaries explaining the same as above. You can not simply rewrite a definition just because you do not agree with it. Even if a blogger claims they have conducted research and that their statements are based on actual reports, their content are still a personal journal and nothing really anymore than that.
Lastly, I would just like to say to your readers to do a little research yourself on the Internet and see how many mainstay newspapers around the world have actually taken a lawsuit against a writer or a person for defamation - you will find very few. What most respectable newspapers would do is to instead opt to write a rebuttal about what had been written about them.
Why does the NST not do the same? They have the space and the ability to write even a full-page column about what had been said about them.
Indeed, why don’t those plaintiffs sue the BBC first before they terrorise the bloggers. Lawsuits today are so expensive that those who can’t afford it can be easily bullied into surrendering or silence or suffer bankruptcy.
In fact the defence lawyer for Ahirudin Attan has asked the court to strike out the defamation suit because the claim is vague and a mere fishing expedition, rendering defence impossible as the defendant doesn’t know precisely what he is being sued for?
Then, added to that, why has the PM interfered in a civil suit by defending the defamation suit against the two bloggers. In a visit to the UK, he said: "They cannot hope to cover themselves or hide from the laws."
“… cover themselves …”?
“… hide from the laws …”?
Haven't those comments been strikingly akin to ‘guilty until proven innocent’?
As I wrote in my previous posting on same subject, malaysiakini reader AM Ubaidah S wrote significantly: “… there may also be legal reasons why Pak Lah should refrain from commenting on this matter. Australian journalist Michael Backman once commented in his book Inside Knowledge said that (in his view) Malaysian courts are actually quite independent (contrary to popular opinion), but have this annoying habit of typically passing judgement in favour of or in line with what they perceive are the government's desires; the flip-flop on Anwar Ibrahim's conviction and subsequent release on appeal being the case in point.”