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World Malaysian court hears contempt case against news portal amid media crackdown

13:16  13 july  2020
13:16  13 july  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Malaysian court hears contempt case against news portal amid media crackdown . Reuters. Police at the scene of two incidents in the city centre. Turkish top court revokes Hagia Sophia's museum status, 'tourists should still be allowed in’.

The Federal Court will hear the contempt of court proceedings against Malaysiakini at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya tomorrow, which could see Pointing out that some 2,000 comments are posted daily on Malaysiakini, he said the portal relied on its readers to flag offensive comments which would

By Rozanna Latiff

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian court heard on Monday a contempt case brought by the government against independent news portal Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief over readers' comments posted on its website, in a case widely seen as a test for press freedoms.

Rights groups have accused Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's government of stifling dissent after a series of clampdowns against critics of his four-month-old administration.

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The Federal Court will hear the contempt of court proceedings against Malaysiakini at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya tomorrow, which could Idrus had initiated the contempt proceedings over five readers' comments in a Malaysiakini news report published on June 9 which have since been removed.

LIVE | The Federal Court is set to hear the contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya today. Among the possible outcomes of today’s apex court proceedings are that the independent news portal is slapped with a fine, or its editor-in-chief Steven Gan jailed.

Last month, Malaysia's attorney-general filed an application to cite Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief Steven Gan for contempt over five comments posted by readers on its website that allegedly undermined public confidence in the judiciary.

Malaysiakini and Gan, who could face a jail term as well as a fine, have maintained they could not be held responsible and the offending comments had been immediately removed after they were contacted by police.

At Monday's hearing, Malaysiakini’s lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar argued that there was no evidence the portal intended to post the comments.

"One shouldn’t be shooting the messenger unless one can actually show the messenger is the creator of the message being delivered," he told the court.

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Contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief Steven Gan will be heard at 9am tomorrow at the Federal Court in Putrajaya.

Malaysian police Friday questioned five Australian journalists from Al Jazeera over a documentary about the plight of migrants which authorities have In addition to the Al Jazeera case , the head of a leading news portal has been accused of contempt of court while a health news site's editor is

Government lawyer S. Narkunavathy said Malaysiakini should be held liable for facilitating the publishing, arguing the portal's filtering systems had been insufficient to prevent the comments from being posted.

"We say that they exercise control over the platform and, as such, they have to assume responsibility to expeditiously remove any comment that is adverse," she told the court.

Federal Court judge Rohana Yusuf said Malaysia’s highest tribunal needed more time to deliberate before reaching a decision.

The case comes as six employees of Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera have been questioned by police over a documentary on Malaysia's detention of undocumented migrants that authorities have accused of being inaccurate, misleading and unfair.

Al Jazeera said it stood by the professionalism and impartiality of its journalism.

Other Malaysians have also recently been taken to court for online postings, including for criticising the country's coronavirus lockdown measures.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police grilled a group of reporters and staff from news Rights activists have voiced concern over a clampdown on freedom of speech and media The attorney-general also filed contempt proceedings last month against popular online news portal

Australia’s Media , Entertainment and Arts Alliance has written to the Malaysian high commission urging it to drop the case . Among them is Steven Gan, editor of the online news platform Malaysiakini, who could face jail time for contempt of court charges over comments posted on the website by internet

Authorities have defended the migrant arrests as necessary for public health and order, amid rising anger towards foreigners and refugees who were accused of spreading the coronavirus and taking up scarce state funds.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Ed Davies)


Video: Malaysiakini editor arrives at court for hearing (Reuters)

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