Malaysian bloggers Rocky Bru and Jeff Ooi have been sued by Malaysian English-language newspaper the New Straits Times. I don’t know Rocky personally, but I met Jeff once at a new media forum. This was sent to me by my friend Susan Loone, who is one of two key people running this campaign on her blog.
Based in Bangkok, but from across the Straits of Johore, you have my support, guys! I support press freedom and freedom of expression for bloggers! And in support of my Malaysian blogger friends and aquaintances, please see below the press statement of Bloggers United.
This is the official statement of Bloggers United. This statement is jointly drafted by Susan Loone and Sheih of Kickdefella. All those who believe in justice and right to free speech, please sign on and put this up in your blogs. Spread it around; let it grow far and wide. The fight is on! See also kickdefella.
We, Malaysian bloggers, we, who believe in justice and right to free speech, we, who endorse the Bloggers United movement, unanimously condemn the action taken by media conglomerate NST against bloggers Rocky Bru and Jeff Ooi. The action by the newspaper against the duo is an action against all bloggers who believe in their right to free speech, freedom of expression and justice.
The recent event may seem like a grave development in the path of bloggers, but it can never and must never impede or stop us from defending our right to speak, to express, to write and to tell the truth, to be the watchdog, eyes and ears of the people, or simply to share our view, and give fair comment on any subject which involves and affects us as humans, as rightful citizens of this country.
The recent event may very well give the government owned media the opportunity to dictate the so-called ‘truth” but such actions only prove that bloggers must unite, continue to uphold the right to free speech and freedom of expression, fight for justice, even if it is not our own, be more alert, committed to the cause of free speech, relentless and persistence in the face of such persecution like the one which had befallen on the two of us.
What YOU do to any of US, is what YOU do to ALL.
As responsible bloggers, we demand and claim our space on the blogosphere for free and fair comment, where important national issues and prominent personalities are discussed.
Although it may seem as if the NSTP defamation suits will have a chilling effect on freedom of bloggers, as litigation can be expensive and may jeorpadise a blogger’s economic position, we will not be cowed or silenced by those who have no regard for free speech.
If you find our post offensive, you may refute us with correct facts and figures and fair comment, in the spirit of free speech.
The first two cases will have grave impact not only on the internet, but country as a whole as the country celebrates VMY2007. The healthy, mature and democratic growth for free speech and expression in our midst is at stake.
The reputation of the nation as it strives to promote our multimedia supercorridor and love for IT will be a national joke for all the world to feast on. <!– D([“mb”,”–>
We demand for a level playing field in all action meted out to bloggers and in particular in the defamation proceedings particularly in terms of financial resources and capabilities, and secondly, that the legal rights of bloggers et al are properly protected in keeping with the imperatives of an information society and knowledge economy which Malaysia aspires to become.