Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bloggers Unite!

Here are some very positive feedback and possible plans of action:

1. From Marina Mahathir: read this
2. From A.Kadir Jasin: read this
3. Here's the statement from Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia:

Take action: Endorse statement against NSTP defamation suits


The defamation suits against Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru is a blatant action to curb our freedom of expression, information and thoughts. Let's lend our support and solidarity to both of them, and for those who blog. We hope to get any many endorsement (organizational and individual) as possible by Mon, 22 Jan. A press conference is slated for early next week, will keep you all posted. For more info contact Sonia, 012 3260424.


We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, are deeply worried by the recent lawsuits against two prominent bloggers, Jeff Ooi and Ahiruddin Attan who run Screenshots and Rocky Bru respectively. The defamation suits brought against the bloggers curtail freedom of expression and information. That an established media organisation can engage in this action reflects how little freedom of expression and information are respected in this country, and that intolerance to criticism is prevalent.

Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin are being threatened with legal action by the New Strait Times Press (NSTP) unless they remove allegedly defamatory blog posts.

Jeff Ooi, real name Ooi Chuan Aun, said NSTP legal firm Shearn Delamore & Co informed him in an email on Jan 11 that he has been served an ex-parte injunction by NSTP seeking to have 13 posts removed from his blog. Ahiruddin or "Rocky Bru" received on Jan 16 the notice that NSTP is suing him for libel and an injunction is taken against him to have 48 posts removed.

The New Straits Times (NST), Kalimullah Hassan (NSTP deputy chairman), Hishamuddin Aun (NST group editor in-chief) and Brenden Pereira (former group editor) are plaintiffs claiming that the posts are defamatory.

A hearing has been set on Jan 25 for Ahiruddin and Jan 30 for Jeff, should they fail to remove the posts. At the heart of the dispute are posts including on, the NST's publication of a caricature that allegedly mocks the prophet Mohammad, alleged lies by Kalimullah Hassan about a Mahathir-Abdullah Badawi meeting in Tokyo, and alleged plagiarism by Brendan Pereira in an article that bears resemblance to one by US columnist Mitch Albom.

We are concerned that Jeff and Ahiruddin are being pitted against a large corporation for expressing their views. It is worrisome that the plaintiff is an organization backed by the government, which has been vocal about taking action against bloggers. Its Malay-language sister publication has previously initiated sedition investigations against bloggers, and this action continues the trend of mass media targetting smaller commentators and websites.

We are disappointed that lawsuits continue to be used to intimidate and muzzle freedom of expression and information in this country. Should NSTP gets its way, many more powerful institutions and individuals will follow suit, and the blogger-sphere will be reigned by fear and self-censorship.

We hereby call upon the;
- Government to reform defamation laws so that they provide protection for the weak against large media corporations,
- NSTP and its editors to protect and uphold freedom of expression, rather than undermine it.
- public, whom as no commercial organization can afford to alienate, to collectively and effectively express their disapproval of NSTP on these lawsuits.

Get Up Stand Up, Stand Up For Your Rights!
You can endorse the statement by emailing