February 13, 2007

In a landmark case, two of Malaysia’s most prominent political bloggers were sued last month for defamation. Jeff Ooi, one of Malaysia’s pioneer bloggers, and Ahirudin Attan aka Rocky Bru, an ex-newspaperman, were sued by the New Straits Times, one of two government-owned English newspapers in Malaysia and the country’s oldest newspaper group.

This has naturally created an uproar in the Malaysian blogosphere, making bloggers face the hard truth that freedom of speech must carry with it the burden of evidence. Bloggers, like every other Malaysian, are also subject also to libel laws, and that written allegations and reports have to be backed by hard facts.

How will the outcome be, and how will it impact the process of political blogging? For one, the word ‘blog’ will not conjure much confidence, and strike a lot more fear, in the hearts of Malaysian parents.

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