Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogger Amizudin Ahmat ordered to serve jail sentence

Amizudin Ahmat’s three months jail serve as a lesson and sent a strong direct message especially to bloggers and Netizen as well as reporters that they should be morally and legally responsible for what they write as they do not have the right to libel the person they write about.

It’s reported that Blogger Amizudin Ahmat failed in his attempt to set aside a three-month jail sentence for contempt. The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, upheld the jail sentence after dismissing his appeal. 

Judge Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim, who led the three member-panels, said they were unable to find any error by the lower court in finding Amizudin liable for contempt.

"The order in compelling him to three months is not excessive," she said, before dismissing the appeal with no order as to cost.

Amizudin, known as "sharpshooter" in the blogsphere, was found guilty by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in August last year of contempt of court over 11 contemptuous articles against the then Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim in his blog.

The court had prohibited him from publishing articles against Rais in his blog, an order which the court found he had breached.

On Nov 21, 2011, Rais was granted leave to commence committal proceedings against Amizudin for breaching the court's order by continuing to publish defamatory articles in his blog.

Rais, 71, sued Amizudin, 44, and a PKR Youth Committee member, on Jan 31, 2011, for defamation over an article posted on the latter’s blog-site,, on Dec 28, 2010, implying that Rais had allegedly raped his maid.

He won his defamation suit at the High Court on July 19, 2011, and was awarded RM300,000 in damages and RM100,000 in costs.

The Court of Appeal later upheld the High Court’s decision saying that the award was not high in view of Dr Rais high social standing. However, it reduced the costs from RM100,000 to RM50,000.

Earlier during submissions counsel R. Sivarasa, who is representing Amizudin, said the main "complaint" here was his client had put a hyperlink in his blog, which was linked to his original defamatory posting. Sivarasa argued that the hyperlink does not tantamount to a republication of the defamatory content.

"If a hyperlink implies republishing, then it will open the floodgates of many such cases which will threaten the internet world," he said.

"The custodial sentence is also excessive as the appellant has learnt his lesson and this can be seen in his actions in removing the articles from his blog."

Rais' counsel Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, said Azimudin should be held responsible as it is his website.

"The court had ordered him to remove is, but in providing the link, it is a republication of it."

He said the blogger had not just posted the link, but had also invited his readers to read the piece from the link. The court, however, allowed Sivarasa's application to grant Azimudin a stay on the jail term, on condition he filed the leave to appeal at the Federal Court within two weeks.

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