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Contempt of court: Mkini Dotcom pays RM500,000 fine

23 Feb 2021 / 17:15 H.

PUTRAJAYA: Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd which runs news portal, Malaysiakini paid the RM500,000 fine imposed by the Federal Court which found the company guilty of contempt of court over the publication of readers’ comments.

Mkini Dotcom’s lawyer, A. Surendra Ananth, when contacted, confirmed that the fine has been paid at the court counter today.

He said the company’s chief executive officer, Premesh Chandran personally went to the Palace of Justice to pay the fine.

On Friday, the Federal Court gave Mkini Dotcom three days from Monday (Feb 22) to settle the fine.

Mkini Dotcom was fined RM500,000 by a seven-member panel led by Court of Appeal president, Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf for contempt of court for facilitating the publication of five readers’ comments.

The court, however, found Malaysiakini editor-in-chief, Steven Gan not guilty of contempt of court.

In the court’s 6-1 majority decision, Justice Rohana said Mkini Dotcom had full control of what was publishable and what was not, so it must carry with it the risks that followed from allowing the way its platform operated.

She said the company had facilitated the publication of the contemptuous comments by third-party subscribers.

The other judges who concurred with the majority decision were Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed; Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges, Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli.

Federal Court judge, Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, who dissented, said Mkini Dotcom and Gan were not liable for contempt because the applicant (Attorney-General) failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that they had the requisite knowledge of the existence of the third-party comments and deliberately intended to publish the comments.

On June 17, last year, the Federal Court had allowed the Attorney-General’s ex-parte application for leave to commence committal proceedings against Mkini Dotcom and Gan in relation to readers’ comments on an article published by Malaysiakini on June 9 entitled, “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1”, which was deemed offensive.

On July 2, last year, Mkini Dotcom and Gan failed to set aside the leave obtained by the AG to commence committal proceedings against them.

The company had reportedly managed to raise more than RM500,000 through donations from the public. — Bernama

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