Malaysiakini’s RM500,000 fine: Overwhelming response is testimony to people’s desire for freedom of expression

It also shows that they don’t want to be cowed into submission

Image: Geralt/Pixabay

Aliran stands in solidarity with Malaysiakini, which was slapped with a hefty RM500,000 fine by the Federal Court this morning for contempt of court.

The judgment is chilling as it spells an erosion of media freedom and freedom of expression, which are vital pillars of democracy.

It amounts to rolling back the freedoms that we have achieved in recent years, as news portals will now have to be extra careful about providing space for readers to comment. In effect, this means that a culture of self-censorship will creep into news portals, crippling their journalistic independence.

This episode also has wide-ranging repercussions on people’s freedom to debate issues of public interest or national importance. As stakeholders in nation-building, people from all walks of life have the right to take part in the decision-making process. To deny people their inalienable right to express their opinions is to place our cherished democracy on a slippery slope.

Within hours of Malaysiakini’s fundraising appeal to the public, the news portal collected more than RM500,000. This overwhelming response is shining testimony to the people’s desire to safeguard their freedom of expression and to protect media freedom.

It also shows that they don’t want to be cowed into submission.

Aliran executive committee
19 February 2021
Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Khong Kah Yeong
Khong Kah Yeong
21 Feb 2021 12.23pm

Cheers to Malaysiakini! Aliran should take a leaf from them should the need arise any time in the future!

Benedict Lopez
20 Feb 2021 8.07am

Kudos to al the Malaysians who so generously donated to this worthy cause within only five hours!

loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
20 Feb 2021 7.40am

Aliran, the judgement is chilling indeed.
In the aftermath of been charged, Mkini begun to have cold feet.
Yes, I deny not words like a***min and a**min are politically charged. Yes, even Aliran dared not touch words with a ten foot pole and censored them.
Yet, that is a crucial difference, for Aliran only the offending words were censored. Mkini resorted to yanking the whole comment offline.
That’s an overkill in my book.

J. D. Lovrenciear
19 Feb 2021 9.40pm

In this age of AI and everything going cyber with 5G knocking so loud on doors of all nations, trying to muzzle public opinion or catheter civilization’s sacred doctrine of freedom of expression and the fundamental role of media vis-a-vis its duty to tell the truth will just fall like a stack of collapsing cards. This government’s must know.