EU, Norwegian, Swiss envoys express concern over court’s decision on contempt

PETALING JAYA: The European Union Ambassadors resident in Malaysia, along with the Ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland, have expressed concern over the Federal Court’s decision against English news portal Malaysiakini after it was slapped with half-a-million ringgit for contempt of court for facilitating in the publication of its readers’ comments.

“While fully recognising the independence and the dignity of the judiciary, we are concerned by the Federal Court’s decision against Malaysiakini and the impact it can have on press freedom in Malaysia,” it said in a joint statement on Saturday (Feb 20).

“Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democratic societies. Media are crucial for debate, transparency and accountability,” it added.

On Friday (Feb 19), the Federal Court held that news portal Malaysiakini is in full control of what is publishable or not on its online platform, making it liable for comments posted by third parties on its website.

Several other embassies including the American and British had similarly expressed concern that the court decision will have an impact on media freedom in the country.

The National Union of Journalists Peninsular Malaysia also concurred, saying that the decision had a tremendous impact on discussions of issues of public interest as well as the media industry.