KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — The recent fine imposed by the Federal Court on news portal Malaysiakini for contempt of court has drawn the worry of the European Union (EU) and two of its members.
In a joint statement, the ambassadors of the European Union in Malaysia together with the ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland here said they are concerned of the impact this could have on press freedom in Malaysia.
“While fully recognising the independence and the dignity of the judiciary, we are concerned by the Federal Court's decision against Malaysiakini.
“Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democratic societies. The media is crucial for debate, transparency and accountability,” they said.
This statement joined other remarks from the United Kingdom and Canada High Commissions, and the Embassy of the United States yesterday.
Yesterday, Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf handed down the RM500,000 fine to Malaysiakini's operator Mkini Dot Com Sdn Bhd following the decision by a panel of seven judges.
The news portal was penalised for facilitating five readers’ remarks against the judiciary on its website.
Shortly after the sentence was handed down, Malaysiakini kickstarted a campaign drive to pay off the fine, which managed to reach its targeted goal within four hours.
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