Right of response was always offered

03 Jun 2014 / 21:58 H.

    PETALING JAYA: Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan said today that prime minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had always been offered the right to respond to readers' comments published in the website.
    "He was more than welcome to explain to them why he thought their opinions of him and Umno were wrong, and they would have been published in full on the portal," said Gan, adding however that they were not surprised by the suit.
    Chief editor Fathi Aris Omar, who was also named as a defendant, said lawsuits are part and parcel of journalism, especially when news is reported without fear or favour.
    He said as Najib and Umno chose to take legal action instead of responding to the portal, the only thing left to be said is "Dear Prime Minister, see you in court."
    Meanwhile, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Chin Sung Chew said the union is against the suit as it contravenes press freedom.
    "As media practitioners, we support press freedom and regret the lawsuit," Chin said today, adding that he thought it an overreaction as "complaints by readers in the comments section do not warrant a lawsuit".
    Chin said Najib should instead issue warning letters or respond to the criticisms levelled against him by readers of the news portal.
    "I don't think it's the proper way to do so although some news on Malaysiakini is not friendly to him.
    "As the country's leader, the prime minister should be able to take criticism. And not only him but all politicians in Malaysia," Chin added.


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