In an unusual settlement a Malaysian social activist has reportedly agreed to apologise 100 times on Twitter as part of a defamation case involving a magazine publisher, according to the Guardian.
The penalty has sparked debate among internet users about the pitfalls of social media in Malaysia where authorities have warned people to be more cautious about what they write on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
The Guardian reports that the case was in relation to allegations made on Twitter by an individual about the publisher which was followed by an apology on the site a few hours later. But a defamation case ensued resulting in the settlement of 100 apologies on Twitter over a three day period.
According to a release by the Canadian Press, the Malaysian government has suspended a newspaper run by their opposition, the People’s Justice Party.
Authorities allege the Suara Keadilan, or Voice of Justice, was printing false news that incited public unrest, adding to concerns that the government is “stifling criticism”.
The paper was due to have its licence renewed last week, but this was declined by the Home Ministry after an article was published claiming the state-run land development agency was in financial trouble.
The paper’s editor reportedly plans to appeal the suspension.
We want people to think. It seems that the government wants everyone to accept everything. They don’t want alternative views … The government is under tremendous pressure right now because people demand to know the truth.
This comes after officials banned three political cartoons criticising the government last week, citing them as a security threat.
Journalist Marc Lourdes uses the St. Louis Post-Dispatch platform blog to ask people outside the media what they think about the ethics of undercover reporting (9/06/09). When Lourdes arrived in the US from Malaysia he was surprised to discover that many American journalists consider such reporting unethical. He now asks a wider audience:
“Do you, dear reader, think that the disadvantages of reporters going undercover outweigh the benefits? Do you think that the loss of privacy outweighs the potential good that might arise from this? Or do you feel that the only people who have to be afraid of undercover reporters snooping around are people who have something to hide? I’m dying to know.”
Jeff Ooi, a 52-year-old advertising copywriter and political blogger, Tony Pua, a technology firm worker, and Badrul Hisham Shaharin have found success with their blogs, which are widely read as an antedote to the country’s pro-government mainstream media, according to the report.
Each will run as a candidate for opposition parties in the elections on March 8.