ANALYSIS. The agenda behind NSTP and its senior personnel’s motive in suing the bloggers is now exposed!

They are now MORE concerned with readers’ commentaries in the blogs than the bloggers’ blog entries!

The hidden aganda surfaced this morning when lawyers representing The NSTP raised concerns over comments left in Rocky’s blog — and readers’ comments in Raja Petra’s blog (Malaysia-Today) which is not related to Rocky’s blog nor his lawsuit — and wanted them removed, citing sub judice rules.

Look! The NST had actually wanted to silence all online readers — in a blanket manner — from voicing out their views about issues probed and discussed in the blogs. Isn’t this an attempt to stifle the common people’s freedom of expression?

According to Malaysiakini, the plantiffs have also applied to the court today to remove comments pertaining to their defamation suit which appeared in Raja Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia Today blog, which is totally not connected to Rocky’s blog and lawsuit.

In an immediate response, Ahirudin’s lawyer Edmund Bon told the press that the plantiffs – NSTP and four others – wanted comments discussing the merits of the case to be removed as they risked prejudicing the case.

Look at the key points that Bon has pinpointed:

“We were only told about it this morning that they want such comments removed so we will look into these comments and give the plaintiffs an answer on Monday.

“We will decide whether it is indeed sub judice […] we have not taken a position yet whether we want to leave the comments in the site or remove it,” he told reporters in Wisma Denmark, Kuala Lumpur today.

He stressed the comments were not related to what Ahirudin had written but what his commentators have been saying.

Meanwhile, another lawyer defending Rocky in the defamation suit also claimed today that Rocky’s suit is impossible to defend, and wanted the court to have the controversial legal action struck out.

This is how Rocky’s co-defence lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar was quited by the reporter from Agencie France Presse (AFP):

“What Rocky is contending is that with the claim the way it is, it is impossible to know how to adequately defend himself,” his lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur civil High Court.

“What we are arguing is that the claim must specifically set out which phrase relates to which meaning so that we can know how to defend it,” he said.

In his affidavit, Rocky claimed that, by suing him for defamation, the plaintiffs were actually going on a ‘fishing expedition” which, in legal jargon, simply means the accusers did not first provide concrete pleadings but intended to have them revealed during trial, fishing them from the defendants!

Strike it out!

Yesterday, Rocky gave the instruction to his lawyers to strike out the defamation suit on several grounds:

  • the suit filed did not state clearly which alleged defamatory posts refers to which of the plaintiffs
  • the defendant would have trouble defending himself because of such unclear pleadings
  • the defendant is placed in a position where he does not know what case he is facing
  • some paragraphs refer to posting which are not part of the 48 postings that plaintiffs want removed
  • the process of discovery of the trial is akin to a ‘fishing expedition’- the pleadings must first be concrete instead of being revealed during trial

So much for peddlers of responsible journalism to “promote responsible blogging”.

High Court Judge Hishamudin Mohamed Yunus has fixed February 22 as the date for the hearing of the application to strike out the case while the interparte injunction hearing will only be heard thereafter.

Hear this from the Associated Press quoting Deputy Information Minister Chia Kwang Chye: “The suit will have a ‘dampening effect on future bloggers’ and make them more cautious.”

As an immediate reflection of the “chilling effect”, beginning today, Rocky has closed his commentary section for blog topics concerning his legal tussle with The NST and its senior employees. What is blog without readers’ feedback?

Your rights to speak is being taken away. Can you bring it back? Think and think hard!