A right and not a privilege: freedom of expression and new media in Malaysia

Authored by: Susan Leong

Routledge Handbook of New Media in Asia

Print publication date:  November  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138026001
eBook ISBN: 9781315774626
Adobe ISBN: 9781317684985


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On October 30, 2013, the Appeals Court of Malaysia upheld the High Court ruling that the Home Minister cannot refuse online news portal, Malaysiakini’s, application for a permit to print without cause (2013c). In so doing, the court reconfirmed Judge Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim’s earlier judgment that the Home Ministry’s rejection of Malaysiakini’s application was not only “improper and irrational” but had also failed to grant the plaintiff “a fundamental liberty enshrined in the Constitution”—the right to freedom of expression (Mayberry 2012). Primarily a subscription-based online news portal with 400,000 unique daily visitors (2014e), Malaysiakini originally lodged the application for a press permit in April 2010 to print 40,000 copies of their content for distribution in the Klang Valley. When the application was summarily refused consideration five months later, Malaysiakini filed for judicial review with the High Court, which delivered a decision two years later (Mageswari 2013). The Malaysian government then appealed the ruling, subsequently upheld by the Appeals Court. To-date the news portal has yet to go to print.

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