Defamation Suits - ISA of the Opposition?
A letter from Mansor Bin Puteh
I am not writing in support for Utusan Malaysia and its reporter, Mohd Zaini Hassan or anyone, but for fairplay and for the unfettered freedom of the press and of expression. They know how to defend themselves and the freedom of the press and of free speech.
But what I am utterly speechless is, how come there is no blogger or member of the ‘liberal’ crowd who is organizing a candle-light vigil to support and press for the freedom of the press and of freedom?
Have the stores run out of candles? Have the supporters of the freedom of the press and of expression and bloggers and their supporters run out of candles to light?
Where are they, the liberals and democrats amongst the Malaysia, especially those who have been vocal to the point of annoyance and who demand these freedoms?
And where is the National Union of Journalists or NUJ? When is its president, Norlida Daud going to ‘ambush’ Teresa Kok and Karpal Singh to demand that they withdraw their suits against anyone or to stop using the defamation suits as the ‘ISA’ of the opposition?
What if their party is able to form the federal government, don’t you think that they, too, would want to take such drastic and even ‘draconian’ actions against anyone who do not write or speak like them?
Can’t they find their way to berate the journalists and newspapers for having uttered what they consider to be disparaging and defamatory remarks against them the same way that these papers have been said to have done that to them?
American president George W Bush has been called by many names, by the media all over the world; if he take similar actions, surely, he can’t call himself a leader who supports the freedom of the press and of expression.
Suing anyone for RM30 million is serious business by any account. It is aimed to put the person who loses the case in permanent disability and castration much like the persons who are in detention under the ISA.
Therefore, by anyone’s rough calculations there is no difference in the ISA than filing a defamation suit.
Now it seems that the opposition only has the defamation suits to use and they are using them to their full advantage and to get wide publicity which they could otherwise not get, unless if they go around to put up road signs in Mandarin or Tamil, a habit that they decided to stop with the arrest of the three under the last ISA roundout.
I am sure those who had wanted to put up more of the same road signs elsewhere, have now not given it a serious thought anymore. Why stop doing that if they think it is good for the multiracial society?
And when is Teresa going to put out more of these road signs?
But if they come to power and are able to introduce new laws will they not want to ban anyone from filing defamation suits since it is against the spirit of the freedom of the press and of expression?
Look at America or the United Kingdom and many other countries in the West, or for that matter, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, for instance; how many of the national leaders from both sides, have instituted defamation suits against anyone?
If the Malaysian politicians who are members of parliament can withstand insults and disparaging remarks that are uttered against them al the time in parliament, so surely, they can also withstand those that are hurled against them outside of it.
Is it because the members of parliament are immune to prosecution for whatever they say in parliament that the other members are not able to do anything about it?
If this the case, why not also allow the members of the public and especially, members of the press the same rights and immunity, since they are also in the same business, just to be fair and liberal? What’s the difference being in parliament and in the public anyway?
I was speechless again when I heard on television that there is one opposition member of parliament who said that freedom of the press has its limits! Was he serious?
There is no such thing. Freedom of the press and of expression do not have their limits. If there are limits, then there is no such freedoms in the first place.
They cannot say that and expect anyone else to respect them for their stand; it’s the weird form of the freedom of the press and of expression.
Maybe all of them are still in the happy Raya mood, and have their stomach full of ‘ketupat’ and ‘rendang’ and are ‘ketupat’ and ‘rendang’ – drunk.
Let’s hope once they have cleared this that they would want to bring out their candles and light them outside of the Utusan office in Jalan Chan Sow Lin.
I do subscribe to the freedom of the press and of expression, especially those whose skins have become so thick that cutting them with razor blades would not hurt them at all.
In fact, they won’t even mind to show the scars, that they can get from the cuts as a ‘badge of honor’; the more scars they have the better their reputation is.
There is no such a thing as a bad or negative publicity.
If those who had lost in any elections including those in the party had any real ‘reputation’, they would not stayed in politics, having lost in the elections even once before.
Yet, with their ‘thick skin’ and being so shameless, they still pursued.