Is the Bill of Guarantees under the Multimedia Super Corridor discarded?

Is the Bill of Guarantees under the Multimedia Super Corridor discarded

Court order against Raja Petra riles bloggers

Shafee latest challenger to RPK’s online stature


 

ANALYSIS

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — The court order requiring controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) to reveal the identities of readers who commented on some articles he posted has stirred up the blogosphere.

Lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had filed a defamation suit against RPK and also an ex-parte application for an order that compelled him to reveal the identities of visitors to his web portal who had left comments and messages below the articles which accused Shafee of masterminding the recent sodomy charge against PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

A widely regarded Internet expert with forensic experience told The Malaysian Insider that a similar situation concerning news portal Malaysiakini occured in January 2003. However, there was no court order in that case.

“Malaysiakini said it would reveal the identities of the commenters if it could. However, the cops raided and seized all their computers. The only reason that may help in this case is to obtain correspondence between the commenter and RPK, for example, e-mails as evidence for further investigation. If not, then the only thing RPK can give them is the Internet protocol addresses and times which these addresses were logged onto his site. The police can then cross-reference this with the service provider, for example, TMNet, to find out exactly which computer was logged on.”

Malaysia’s top automotive blogger, Paul Tan, concurred with the procedure on how IPs could track viewers but questioned why every commenter needed to have his IP revealed.

“This is akin to an invasion of privacy. The complainant should point out specific comments for the court to decide if they are objectionable or would aid in an investigation,” he said.

Another prominent blogger and online entrepreneur, Sharizal Shaarani, said that a problem would arise if the commenter had worked from a shared computer, for example, in a cybercafe or even his/her office.

“In any case, reading an allegedly illegal article is not an offence,” he said and echoed Tan’s sentiments that Shafee should point out specific comments.

Suanie Tew, a member of the now defunct group blog Monsterblog, related a similar incident where a commenter left a lengthy comment about a company. The company alleged that the accusations were false and requested the comment to be removed.

“Our lawyer recommended that the comment be removed but that the IP and time of comment be withheld unless they obtained a court order. The company said it would do so but eventually we did not hear further,” she said.

“Bloggers should not be held responsible for what their readers comment,” she added.

Comments (2)
I am very afraid
written by Joeawk, August 14, 2008 
 
Looks like I have to stop commenting least i am put in jail. Hahaha, sometimes in life we all get carried away and think that we are all superman, sue this and that, sue him and her, forgetting that life itself is so, so, so fragile.  

Moreso,when comes to scumbags.

 

You don’t have to stop commenting Joeawk
written by Sharizal Shaarani, August 14, 2008 
 
Just comment wisely, bearing in mind what laws can be held against you..  Now if we have a problem with some of those laws, it’s time we make those MPs we elected to do some real work for us and start amending outdated laws! ;)AUG 14 — Nearly every day last week, Datuk Shafee Abdullah had to field calls from friends, colleagues and fellow lawyers. All the conversations started in the same vein, sans the small talk, with a question: have you read the articles on you by Raja Petra Kamarudin? 

After dismissing the articles — which alleged that he was the hidden hand behind the sodomy case against Opposition icon Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim — the prominent lawyer promised to enter unfamiliar territory to clear his name and turn the tables on the blogger who runs the popular website Malaysia Today.

He delivered half of his promise yesterday by seeking and obtaining a rare order from the High Court, so rare that lawyers could not remember the last time any journalist/blogger in Malaysia was directed by the courts to reveal the source or sources of his reports. The order for Raja Petra to reveal the identities of readers who commented on the offending reports is unprecedented.

(Any one who knows how and why he could obtain a special rare order should inform RPK for further action.)

There have been cases in the United Kingdom and United States where bloggers have been ordered to reveal the identities of those who made defamatory postings on websites. But not in Malaysia.

Justice Datuk Tee Ah Sing also ordered Raja Petra to remove the articles titled “Shafee Abdullah: Sodomologist Extraordinaire”; “Money, Power and Sex: What Motivates Man”; and “The Real Dalang Behind the Anwar Sodomy Allegation.”

His order asking Raja Petra to reveal the sources and identities of those posted comments on his blog will have far-reaching consequences, and could signal a move by the courts here to spell out clearly the boundaries for commentary and comments on blogs and websites. It also comes at a time when government ministers and officials have been calling for closer monitoring of bloggers and tougher action against defamatory articles on the Internet.

Tee’s decision will provoke a gush of criticisms in blogosphere, where the prevalent view is that the Bill of Guarantees under the Multimedia Super Corridor provides a shield against any censorship or restriction against the freedom of speech. Lawyers have noted that the laws of defamation apply equally in any sphere, as long as the key ingredients in a defamation charge are made out.

They also believe that Shafee is relying on the Norwich Pharmacal principle to compel Raja Petra to reveal his sources and the identities of those who posted allegedly defamatory comments about him. In 1974, the House of Lords devised the principle to compel individuals or companies to reveal the identities of infringers so that the aggrieved party could take action against them.

By taking this route, Shafee is going for broke and is inviting a fight from Raja Petra, who already has a clutch of court appearances before him. In a statement to the newspapers yesterday, he said: “I have not seen anything more defamatory than what this man has written. None of what he said is true.

“Even someone with a pea-sized brain would realise the preposterousness of the stories Raja Petra has posted on his blog.”

These comments are unlikely to force the blogger into submission. Indeed, it could embolden him and force a standoff.

In the past, he has accused Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and his wife of being involved in the murder of Mongolian model Altantutya Shaariibuu; has accused the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan of being involved in criminal activities and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail of wrongdoing in the first sodomy case against Anwar in 1998.

He has been charged with criminal defamation for alleging that Datin Rosmah Mansor and two others were present when C4 explosives were used on Altantuya, and has said that the prospect of going to jail does not frighten him.

It is difficult to envisage him yielding to the High Court order and revealing the sources of the three articles or the identities of those who posted comments on his blog by Saturday. It will be seen as nothing less than a capitulation for someone who has built a reputation of taking on all comers.

Comments (5)Add Comment
RPK beats them in credibility
written by Joeawk, August 14, 2008  
No matter what happened, win or lose, blogger’ community believes in RPK’s credbility, much more than the credibility of any politicians or lawyers. RPK is no GOD, we all know that but he is at least more worthy as a manthan any other person in high politicaloffice and that includes those who are close to high office.  

Sorry la, I cannot see any good in anyone who is close to high political office, in fact I see tham as worse than those in high office.

pea brain?
written by delCapo, August 14, 2008  
“Even someone with a pea-sized brain would realise the preposterousness of the stories Raja Petra has posted on his blog.”  

So wats up with the big fuss, shafee??


written by LCE, August 14, 2008  
In this dark age of Malaysian history, The masses need to get information from sources other than the tightly controlled media. It is indeed unfortunate that we are to be deprived of the only alternative source of information left. 
Siapa makan cili ……
written by Foot Balls, August 14, 2008  
It is really unprecedented for the Judge to order RPK to reveal identities of all commentors on his articles. 
Its also virtually mean that if you are cornered by The Star or Utusan journalists in KLCC to comment on some issues, you cannot say any truth opinions ( the truth hurts !) or else you can be sued for slander or defamation. What we will end up is all the yesmen and yeswomen and the MSM will just “glorified” the current Govt no matter how poor their performance are. 
Another interesting revealation is that it is on an exparte basis and not interparte, which would have allow RPK to rebut the summon.
Please Spare RPK, Mr.Shafee
written by suresh, August 14, 2008  
To many of us Malaysians RPK is a remarkable man and soul. Though he is known to be limited with kind words, he has the kindness for humanity that I think worth to worship. I have not seen RPK personally but wish I would see him one day. This is because, deep inside me I could feel his regards and concern for people of ordinary.  

I believe his writings are result of information and evidence that he has been receiving from all corners. For most Malaysians he is the vocal personality who can be relied to question injustice in this country. I also believe what prompts him to write is his urge to witness a country that is led by good leaders. What else could be other than this; is he planning to be a PM of Malaysia by defeating Najib or any others? 

So lawyer Shafee, please refrain yourself from ripping a man further who has been ripped by all mightiest, you could simply issue a denial statement in his own blog, showing your disagreement on his finding or accusations against you. And stop suing him for another multi-million defamation suit that probably would him as pauper. 

As you know, we have very fewer people to voice on behalf of Malaysians; please don’t deprive of us Malaysians from this benefit. 

Have we seen your biggest deed? I guess not yet, please show us now. 

Please leave this man; He is one special soul we Malaysian have and value.

 

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