What an outrage. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and expression in this country??
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — The court order requiring controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) to reveal the identities of readers who commented on some articles he posted has stirred up the blogosphere.
Lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had filed a defamation suit against RPK and also an ex-parte application for an order that compelled him to reveal the identities of visitors to his web portal who had left comments and messages below the articles which accused Shafee of masterminding the recent sodomy charge against PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
A widely regarded Internet expert with forensic experience told The Malaysian Insider that a similar situation concerning news portal Malaysiakini occured in January 2003. However, there was no court order in that case.
“Malaysiakini said it would reveal the identities of the commenters if it could. However, the cops raided and seized all their computers. The only reason that may help in this case is to obtain correspondence between the commenter and RPK, for example, e-mails as evidence for further investigation. If not, then the only thing RPK can give them is the Internet protocol addresses and times which these addresses were logged onto his site. The police can then cross-reference this with the service provider, for example, TMNet, to find out exactly which computer was logged on.”
Malaysia’s top automotive blogger, Paul Tan, concurred with the procedure on how IPs could track viewers but questioned why every commenter needed to have his IP revealed.
“This is akin to an invasion of privacy. The complainant should point out specific comments for the court to decide if they are objectionable or would aid in an investigation,” he said.
Another prominent blogger and online entrepreneur, Sharizal Shaarani, said that a problem would arise if the commenter had worked from a shared computer, for example, in a cybercafe or even his/her office.
“In any case, reading an allegedly illegal article is not an offence,” he said and echoed Tan’s sentiments that Shafee should point out specific comments.
Suanie Tew, a member of the now defunct group blog Monsterblog, related a similar incident where a commenter left a lengthy comment about a company. The company alleged that the accusations were false and requested the comment to be removed.
“Our lawyer recommended that the comment be removed but that the IP and time of comment be withheld unless they obtained a court order. The company said it would do so but eventually we did not hear further,” she said.
“Bloggers should not be held responsible for what their readers comment,” she added.
– The Malaysian Insider