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Malaysiakini seeks public donation to pay RM500,000 fine Wednesday, editor speaks of ‘chilling effect’

[Image: steven_gan_190221d.jpg]

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 19 ― News portal Malaysiakini said today it will be holding a fundraising campaign to ensure it will be able to pay the RM500,000 fine imposed by the Federal Court for contempt of court over the hosting of five readers’ comments against the judiciary.

Malaysiakini’s editor-in-chief Steven Gan, who was found not guilty in contempt of court in the same case, expressed his disappointment on the Federal Court’s decision today for the “chilling effect” it would have on freedom of expression in Malaysia.

“We were very disappointed with the decision. The decision flies in the face of the fast-changing new media landscape in this country, will have tremendous chilling effect on discussions of issues of public interest and it delivers a body blow to our campaign, our continual campaign to fight corruption among others,” he told reporters when met at the lobby of the Palace of Justice.

Gan said the approach to be taken should be to educate Malaysians instead of “punish” media organisations like Malaysiakini for comments made by readers.

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