A major news group in Malaysia and its top executives are suing two bloggers for “defamation” and “malicious falsehood” over certain postings they permitted or made in their blogs.
The New Straits Times Press (NSTP), its Deputy Chairperson Kalimullah Hassan, Group Editor-in-Chief Hishamuddin Aun and former group editor Brenden Pereira filed a defamation suit against popular socio-political bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan on 4 January 2007.
Ooi, in particular, has been blogging critically and controversially of the government and public figures on his blog “Screenshots” since 2003, winning the Reporters Without Borders Freedom Blog Award for Asia soon after.
The NSTP has also obtained an exparte injunction ordering Ooi to remove 13 allegedly defamatory postings about the news group and the other plaintiffs on his blog by 17 January. Ooi is also barred from publishing the same or similar postings until the defamation suit against him is settled.
An interparte hearing of the application for an injunction against Ooi will be heard on 30 January.
In the suit against Ahirudin, NSTP Chief Executive Officer Syed Faisal Syed Albar is an additional plaintiff. An injunction ordering for the removal of 48 allegedly defamatory postings from Ahirudin’s blog “Rocky’s Bru” will be heard on 25 January.
The Associated Press reports that the lawsuits mark the first time in Malaysia that bloggers are being sued for their postings on the Internet.