NST – Are You OK?
As any regular visitor to my blog knows, I rarely post any of my own comments in my blog. This is because I’d rather let the reader make his own judgment based on the facts given. And the reader, being the judge, has to consider both sides of a story to make a fair appraisal of the issue at hand.
In Malaysia, sad to say, by fate or design, more by deliberate design, most of the mainstream press is muzzled by the ‘Big Brother’ through the draconian press licensing system and strong arm tactics by the authorities.
Most of us in the Malaysian blogosphere understand the predicament our mainstream press brethren are facing. We emphatise with you. Most of our blog entries play a complementary role to what is published by the mainstream media. There lies the symbiotic relationship which, we would like to think, you are silently appreciating given your operating constraints.
There are numerous instances where NST itself had to retract and apologise publicly for commentaries or news printed for what the Malaysian blogosphere community feel is fair comment. We feel sorry for your predicament. Afterall, you are only human. You have to think about the future of the company, the shareholders and the livelihood of your employees, among other things. It is a sad reality that your inherent journalistic ethics have to take backstage when the real world situations demand otherwise. We know of instances where many a maverick journalist has to face the ‘disciplinary’ board and had to toe the line.
But what perplexes us is, that you chose to sue certain members of our Malaysian blogoshere community for what the majority of us, if not all, consider as fair comment.
As a non-practising lawyer myself, I will defend to death your legal rights to sue. That is beyond the question. Actually, I personally view this as a corporate citizen exercising its legal and democratic rights. And I agree that we bloggers do not operate in a legal vacuum. We believe in the rule of law. We still believe in the independence and integrity of our legal system and the judiciary. We will accept whatever the outcome of the trial. That is the faith we have in our esteemed Judiciary.
But, before instituting the legal option, did you consider the other alternatives at your disposal? For one, you could have turned the tables to your favor and gained our utmost respect if you could have engaged us and have had just replied with a simple rebuttal. Readers of the said blogs would have read your side of the story and can form their own informed judgment.
Our bloggers do not censor or censure anyone’s comments like you do. There are numerous occasions where press statements and letters from NGOs, Aliran and the Opposition went straight to your thrash can. Why did you do that? You know and we know too, the reasons. Like I said earlier, we emphatise with your predicament.
I feel that your actions to sue our fellow Malaysian bloggers is frivolous, vexatious and/or an abuse of process. It is still not too late for you to drop the charges, NST. Listen to your heart and come clean. It is still not too late for you to not only redeem your image but gain the respect of the Malaysian blogging community as well.
Please do not underestimate the brotherhood, solidarity, power and resolve of Malaysian bloggers.
Some Related Articles: (Watch This Space For Updates)
NGOs against suing bloggers for defamation
Blogger files application to strike out suit