After the Federal Court’s decision today to fine Malaysiakini RM500,000 for contempt of court, the Malaysian Bar expressed its concern about the long-term impact on media freedom. Bar President Salim Bashir also urged the Malaysian people, “by writing nefarious and malicious comments online and in the media,” to refrain from violating the right to free expression.
He also called for a simple law of contempt that would include an unambiguous description of terms to eliminate confusion, such as “scandalizing the court.” The RM500,000 fine on Malaysiakini, Salim said, was exorbitant and unreasonable. To display the disapproval of the court, a lower sum would have been appropriate.
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