Jan 25, 2007

Blogger RockyBru, Ahirudin Files Application To Strike Out NSTP's Suit

The power of Bloggers vs NSTP. Check out the hidden agenda behind the suit.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 (Bernama) -- Blogger Ahirudin Attan has filed an application to strike out the defamation suit brought by the New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad and four others on the grounds that the suit is fatally deficient because it does not state the exact words in the publications.

The application was filed Wednesday. High Court judge Datuk Mohamed Hishamudin Mohamed Yunus fixed Feb 22 to hear the application.

Thursday was fixed for hearing of the interparte injunction sought by NSTP and the four to require Ahirudin, who was a former editor of the Malay Mail, to remove certain articles from his weblog and restrain him from further publishing articles defamatory to them.

The proceedings were held in chambers.

One of the plaintiff's counsels, Rishwan Singh, told reporters that all parties agreed that the striking out application be heard first before proceeding with the injunction application.

Ahirudin's counsel, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, told reporters that NSTP told the court that after it had filed the suit, four postings were still posted in Ahirudin's weblog and NSTP claimed that it was subjudice to the trial.

However, Malik Imitiaz said it was very unclear which posting in particular affected NSTP and the counsel needed to get instruction from Ahirudin.

The court fixed Monday to meet all the parties to determine this issue.

On Jan 4, NSTP, its deputy chairman Datuk Kalimullah Hassan, chief executive officer Datuk Syed Faisal Albar, group editor-in-chief Datuk Hishamuddin Aun and former group editor Brendan Pereira filed a suit against Ahirudin for defamation and malicious falsehood.

The suit pertains to certain articles and postings that had been published, or permitted to be published, by Ahirudin on his weblog.

They claim that the articles refer to them and are defamatory.

Ahirudin, in his affidavit to support his striking out application, said the statement of claim did not state accurately the words complained about in the original language that it was published in.

The statement of claim only mentioned the translation which was not verified by the words complained about which was in Malay, he said.

Ahirudin claimed that the publications in his weblog referred to different subjects and related to different individuals and entities, including the plaintiffs.

Asked whether this was the first case that a blogger was being sued, another counsel representing Ahirudin, Edmund Bon, said that from his understanding, this was the first time in Malaysia a blogger was being sued by a newspaper.

The High Court was packed with local and foreign press members and other bloggers including fomer NSTP senior editors such as Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, Datuk Ahmad Talib and Nuraina A. Samad.

The plaintiffs also filed a similar action against another blogger, Ooi Chuan Aun, on the same day for defamation and malicious falsehood.

The suit relates to certain articles and posts published, or permitted to be published by Ooi on his weblog to defame the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs applied for an injunction requiring Ooi to remove certain articles from his weblog, which the High Court granted on Jan 11.

Ooi's case is fixed for hearing for interparte injunction on Jan 30 before Justice Datuk Abdul Malik Ishak.

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