escape for Net abusers
The Borneo Post - Thursday, 12 December, 2002 Front page
|Back to index|
The Sarawak AttorneyGeneral's Office welcomed the landmark ruling by
Australia's High Court that legal action can be taken against online
publishers from anywhere in the world for posting defamatory remarks on
on the latest development, Attorney-General Datuk JC Fong said the ruling
meant that the public would now have an avenue to sue individuals or
publishers who posted defamatory remarks on the Internet.
Australian High Court ruled on Tuesday that online publishers could be
sued in the place where the material was viewed, not the country of origin
where it was uploaded.
added that laws were being put in place in Sarawak and Malaysia in general
to take legal action against publishers of such online materials.
private sector legal expert, meanwhile, commented that it was possible
that courts in Sarawak might recognise the decision as any case involving
other Commonwealth country was of persuasive authority.
decision made by the High Court in other Commonwealth countries such as
Australia or New Zealand can be a precedent. State Police
Commissioner Datuk Mohd Yusoff Jaafar who has been vocal against online
hate messages and defamatory articles also welcomed the decision.
are observing the development closely, and all I can say is that the
public and web publishers must take the cue," he said when contacted
at his office yesterday.
this month, police have formed a special task force with other federal
agencies in collaboration with the State Attorney-General's Office to deal
with online defamation following the posting of defamatory and hate
messages on the Sarawak Talk, an online message forum, hosted by a website
server originating from Australia.
is very similar to rumour mongering which can have devastating effect if
left unchecked," he warned.
police, he said, could take action through the Internal Security Act
(ISA), Seditions Act and also under Section 298 A of the Penal Code.
Yusoff again appealed to the public to refrain from posting messages
touching on sensitive issues involving race and religion.
is bad for young surfers who could be easily influenced by the sentiments
posted over the Internet. Repercussion to the society at large will be
very severe if steps are not taken now," he said. Another legal
expert said the Australian court ruling had its pros and cons.
think it is good that now people cannot hide behind the unanimous
defamatory messages posted from the web server of other countries besides
is good in the sense that it will help to curtail people who abuse the
system by using it in an improper and disgraceful way," he
said. On the other hand he felt that the freedom of expression would
be adversely affected by the decision.
he observed that the ruling referred to publishers, and those implicated
could go after the publishers although the site was uploaded in another
host of such websites where web users can post the hate messages should be
made accountable," he said.