International media group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has decried the Court of Appeal ruling against Malaysiakini, which ordered the independent news portal to pay RM350,000 to a gold mine.
“It is completely unacceptable and disproportionate that journalists should be the target of judicial proceedings, just for attending a press conference serving the public interest,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of Paris-based RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
Malaysiakini was ordered to pay RM200,000 in damages and RM150,000 in legal cost to Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) by the Court of Appeal, after it reversed a High Court judgment.
RAGM had sued Malaysiakini over three articles and two video clips on health concerns expressed by residents regarding the mining activities – where cyanide-related chemicals were used to extract gold – near their village at Bukit Koman in Raub, Pahang.
In 2016, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed RAGM’s suit on grounds that it failed to prove malice on the part of Malaysiakini.
However, the three-member Court of Appeal panel, led by Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, overturned the High Court judgment on Jan 11.
The panel ruled that Malaysiakini’s defence of reportage and Reynold’s defence could not be applied in this case.
The gold mine has since ceased operations and commenced liquidation proceedings.
While the campaign ended yesterday, those who want to contribute can continue to do so, as any additional money will go into Malaysiakini's legal defence fund for future cases.
Those wishing to contribute can bank in their donations to the following account:
Account name: Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd
Account no: 514253516714 (Maybank)
Swift Code: MBBEMYKL
Branch address: Dataran Maybank, Level 1 Tower A, Dataran Maybank, 59000 Kuala Lumpur.
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