Malaysiakini: Federal Court to hear contempt proceedings tomorrow

Radzi Razak
Gan said that the case will have a tremendous impact, not just on Malaysiakini but also on other media organisations, tech companies and millions of Malaysians who use social media. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — The Federal Court will hear the contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief Stevan Gan tomorrow, the news portal reported today.

According to the report, a panel of judges is expected to hear an application to set aside the hearing first. The hearing will commence if the judges deny the application.

Malaysiakini is represented by lawyers Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Surendra Ananth.

A number of organisations will be holding watching brief at the hearing, including the Bar Council, and press groups Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) and the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).

On June 16, Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun filed an ex-parte application to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Malaysiakini andGan over several comments left by readers in the news portal’s comment section.

Idrus had in his affidavit, said that the application is related to readers’ comments on Malaysiakini’s article titled “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1”, published on June 8.

Idrus reportedly cited five comments, which he alleged had “clearly meant that the judiciary committed wrongdoings, is involved in corruption, does not uphold justice and compromised its integrity.”

Last Thursday, the news portal filed an application to set aside the Federal Court ruling granting leave to Idris to commence contempt proceedings against them.

Gan said that the case will have a tremendous impact, not just on Malaysiakini but also on other media organisations, tech companies and millions of Malaysians who use social media.

“This contempt of court action against Malaysiakini is for comments posted by our readers,” said Gan as reported by Malaysiakini.

“This is despite the fact that we have removed the allegedly contemptuous comments from our website not long after the news report on the reopening of the courts was uploaded.”

Several former Malaysian Bar presidents have also urged the AG to reconsider the contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief Steven Gan over several comments left by readers in the news portal’s comment section.

The former presidents comprised Datuk Kuthubul Zaman, Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Ragunath Kesavan, Datuk Lim Chee Wee, Christopher Leong and Steven Thiru.

They argued that under a ‘new normal’, societies all over the free world have come to both accept and expect readers to post instant and unscrutinised comments on the internet notwithstanding unwelcome consequences arising occasionally as a result.

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