Jan 18, 2007

Bloggers sued for defamation of NSTP

NSTP vs Bloggers

(MalaysiaKini) Two socio-political bloggers have been served with papers by lawyers representing New Straits Times Press (NSTP) over postings in their blogs that were deemed defamatory.

Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi have been served with different suits relating to blog posts in their respective websites.

Ahirudin who runs ‘Rocky’s Bru’ said he was served the papers two nights ago at the National Press Club in Kuala Lumpur.

“You can read from Nuraina (A Samad)’s blog. She was there. She has written how I refused the papers,” he said.

Nuraina’s blog described Ahirudin’s surprise and that he was served with a foot-high stack of documents.

The lawyer who served the notice to Ahirudin represented News Straits Times Press (NSTP), its deputy chairperson Kalimullah Hassan, chief executive officer Syed Faisal, group editor-in-chief Hishamudin Aun and former group editor Brendan Pereira.

The former Malay Mail executive editor sounded tired but was in good spirits when he explained the suit to malaysiakini.

“They have cited 48 postings considered defamatory and are seeking an injunction against my blog.

“The hearing is set for Jan 25 and I haven’t even found myself a lawyer yet,” Ahirudin quipped.

Allegations of plagiarism

Meanwhile, Ooi of ‘Screenshots’ fame is similarly being sued by NSTP, Kalimullah, Hishamuddin and Pereira.

His hearing is fixed for Jan 30.

“My lawyers are going through the details and we will respond accordingly,” he told malaysiakini.

After much speculation in the ‘blogosphere’ about civil suits being filed against bloggers, Ahirudin and Jeff finally revealed the details in their blogs today.

A movement called ‘Bloggers United, No Fear’ spearheaded by another blogger, Sheih, has started online since the news leaked out

In Nov 2006, Ahirudin and Jeff were embroiled in controversy with NSTP when they revealed that a column in the New Straits Times on Oct 30 under group editor Brendan Pereira’s by-line bore a strong resemblance in style and structure to a column by Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press of Sept 10, 2006.

The NSTP later announced that Pereira will end his term of service as group editor of NST on Dec 31 and rejected the allegations of plagiarism.

They have also alleged that Kallimullah and NST are Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s spin doctors
.

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