Tuesday, February 20, 2007
One month later
Bloggers United. I confess. When NSTP and the 4 others filed the defamation suit against me last month [here], I felt alone. When I was editor at the Mail and the Business Times, we got sued by corporations and individuals all the time but I was never worried. After all, I had the mighty NSTP behind me. But now the NSTP was suing me and I had no one behind me.
Nuraina A. Samad was there when they served me the papers. She had witnessed them take away her dad [and kept him in jail for over 5 years without trial, here], so some defamation suit, unprecedented or otherwise, wasn't about to impress her. That gave me strength.
A little later, A. Kadir Jasin called up. He heard that Jeff Ooi was being sued by the NSTP and thought I should get fellow bloggers to support the Screenshots blogger. I told him that Jeff was not alone.
The suit brought Jeff and I closer. And to think that we used to cross swords before: The Blogger vs The Editor. Together we sought advice from various parties, including Karpal Singh. Quite a few lawyers called up and dropped mails to offer to defend me, pro bono, and that I found heartening. Sonia from the CIJ called a press conference to denounce the legal action. The path led me to Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, Haris Ibrahim and Edmund Bon. Elizabeth Wong had a hand in this.
There were over a thousand mails, text messages, calls and comments on the blog giving me support.
And then Sheih of Kickdefella, whom I met not too long ago under strange circumstances through Firewall, unilaterally created the Bloggers United: No Fear logo. Susan Loone started an Official Page for Bloggers United and someone else initiated Walk With Us.
When Bon and I walked up to court that morning on Jan 25, the bloggers were there. Ron was there. So were Pahit Manis, Zorro, Sang Kelembai, Kuda Ranggi, A Voice, Politikus. The KMU boys turned up, the Gen-M was there with banners, and bloggers from all over started to link up.
Marina Mahathir came into the picture and there were talks about setting up a legal fund to help Jeff and I. One day she mailed me from Sri Lanka and wanted to know why I had not put up the Bloggers' United logo. I got someone to help me tinker with the template and displayed the logo on my blog that very day. Last week, Malaysia Today did the same.
It's been only a month but we have come a long way. Hundreds of blogs are Bloggers United logo carriers. Thousands will do the same. In Mr Smith's words, a time will come when bloggers will move mountains. I believe that.
On Thursday the 22nd of February, at Wisma Denmark at 2.30pm, I go back to court to face NSTP and 4 Others. I don't feel alone anymore. I've got Bloggers United behind me.
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