MalaysiaKini has been slapped with RM500,000 fine for contempt of court over comments made on its portal in June 2020. During the sentencing, MalaysiaKini was ordered to settle the fine within three days from Monday.
According to MalaysiaKini, the fundraiser is now closed and they will provide more details of what they will do with the extra funds soon.
During the sentencing, Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf said the offending comments in question were “spurious and reprehensible” while allegations of corruption were “false and untrue”. MalaysiaKini argued that they were unaware of the comments as it didn’t contain suspected words that could trigger its commenting system’s moderation filters.
After they were contacted by the police, the editorial team had immediately reviewed and deleted the comments within the same day. Editor-in-Chief Steven Gan said “We were not punished for our journalism. We were punished for comments posted by our readers.”
The decision made by the courts has the potential to set a dangerous precedent. While there’s a need for responsible moderation by online publications, it is almost impossible to ensure that readers do not make offending comments on the platform.
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