Aliran is appalled by the legal suit instituted by Prime Minister Najib Razak and Umno Baru against news portal Malaysiakini over readers’ comments published on the site.
While we abhor defamatory remarks in principle, Najib and Umno Baru’s action is tantamount to instilling fear in other alternative media and their concerned readers.
Malaysiakini, as a matter of principle, provides enough space for any aggrieved party to respond to any critical pieces or readers’ comments – a practice that is common in any thriving democracy.
By not taking up Malaysiakini’s offer of a right of reply, Najib and company only reinforce the suspicion that the powers that be are inclined to muzzle the news portal, which is known for its relentless pursuit of truth without fear or favour.
Just as important, Malaysiakini is noted for living up to its objective of making politicians accountable for their actions, particularly those who claim to rule the country in the name of the rakyat.
Bearing in mind the wider implications of this legal action on democracy, we call upon Najib and Umno Baru to drop their legal suit.
Aliran executive committee
4 June 2014