Editor’s Note: As of 4.45pm today, Malaysiakini reported that it has managed to raise RM505,000 within four hours since it launched its donation drive.
MALAYSIA’S pioneering news portal Malaysiakini is reaching out to the public to help it raise RM500,000 after the Federal Court convicted the news organisation of contempt of court.
The sum – which is more than the RM200,000 sought by the Attorney-General’s Chambers – must be paid within three working days (by next Wednesday, Feb 24).
Contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini and its editor-in-chief Steven Gan were initiated by Attorney-General Idrus Harun over comments left by readers on the news website.
The 6-1 majority decision cannot be appealed. The Federal Court did not convict Gan.
“We were not punished for our journalism. We were punished for comments posted by our readers,” Gan pointed out.
On June 16 last year, fresh from assuming the position of attorney-general, Idrus applied for contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini and Gan.
Idrus argued that the two respondents had scandalised the court by facilitating five readers’ comments on an article dated June 9 titled “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1.”
The five comments, argued Idrus, “clearly meant that the judiciary committed wrongdoings, is involved in corruption, does not uphold justice and compromised its integrity.”
The comments, he added, threatened public confidence in the judiciary and were “clearly” aimed at tarnishing the administration of justice.
Malaysiakini’s response to the court was that the prosecutors could not prove intent by the news organisation to publish the comments that scandalised the court.
Gan said Malaysiakini attracted readers from all walks of life – including members of the judicial system – who share the news organisation’s goals of holding power to account.
“We hope that Malaysians will contribute to our fund. Openness to critical views is a sign of a strong and healthy institution.
“For 21 years, Malaysiakini has relied on the generosity of the public to continue its mission. We again call upon Malaysians to come to our aid,” said Gan.
Those who wish to contribute to the “Defend Malaysiakini Fund” can do so at:
- Account name: Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd
- Account No: 5142 5351 6714 (Maybank)
- Swift Code: MBBEMYKL
- Branch address: Dataran Maybank, Level 1 Tower A, Dataran Maybank, 59000 Kuala Lumpur.
Alternatively, donors can use their credit cards by calling Malaysiakini at +603 7770 0000 – Feb 19, 2021
Photo credit: Malaysiakini