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