Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Blogger faces trial for malicious intent over satirical article

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 8 September 2010
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Blogger faces trial for malicious intent over satirical article, 8 September 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c8df297c.html [accessed 20 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Reporters Without Borders today condemned as senseless a charge laid against Irwan Abdul Raman, better known as Hassan Skodeng, for posting a satirical article on his blog http://nose4news.wordpress.com/ about the state-owned energy company Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

Raman faces up to one year in prison and a fine of 50,000 ringgits (12,500 euros). The worldwide press freedom organisation called for charges against Raman to be dropped, deploring the judicial harassment against him and defending a blogger's right to humour. "The authorities should not confuse satire with defamation", it said.

Irwan Abdul Raman was charged on 2 September by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for his post on 25 March this year headlined "TNB to sue WWF over Earth Hour". The satirical report falsely claimed that Malaysia's biggest energy company was planning to sue the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) over its Earth Hour demonstration against global warming.

Raman has been charged under Article 233 (1) (a) of the 1998 Communications and Multimedia law for "improper use of network facilities or network service by making, creating, soliciting and initiating transmission of any content that is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with malicious intent."

The blogger has taken down the post but pleaded not guilty. The Malaysian opposition called the trial ridiculous.

Several bloggers faced charges in 2009 including Khairul Nizam Abd Ghani and Badrul Hisham Shaharin who were arrested during a demonstration against Malaysia's Internal Security Act (http://en.rsf.org/malaysia-campaign-for-internal-security-act-30-07-2010,38067.html) for their posted comments and articles.

Reporters Without Borders included Malaysia among countries to be kept under surveillance in its most recent report on free expression online released on 12 March 2010 (http://en.rsf.org/surveillance-malaysia,36670.html).

Reporters Without Borders condemns the government pressure that led the owners of Chinese-language radio station 98.8 FM to fire its manager and a presenter for interviewing politicians about racial discrimination. "The company told us we violated licence conditions regarding race, religion and morality," talk-show host Jamaluddin Ibrahim told Agence France-Presse. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission sent the station's owners a letter on 18 August complaining about the content of Ibrahim's programme.

In July, the government suspended the distribution of three opposition newspapers and restricted the distribution of a fourth: http://en.rsf.org/malaysia-constant-harassment-of-opposition-16-07-2010,37965.html

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