PETALING JAYA, Jan 12 — News portal Malaysiakini has asked the public for help to raise RM350,000 it needs to pay in damages after the Court of Appeal reversed the High Court’s decision in a defamation case.
The sum awarded to Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) company comprises of RM200,000 in damages and RM150,000 in costs.
On May 23, 2016, High Court judge Justice Rosnani Saub dismissed RAGM’s claim against the portal and three members of its editorial staff.
Malaysiakini had reported that villagers at Bukit Koman in Raub, Pahang had alleged that the use of cyanide-based chemicals to extract gold at RAGM’s mine had adversely affected their health.
The portal’s reports on the issue involved three news reports and two videos with one report showing villagers expressing fears over the mining activity while the other two were press conferences held by the villagers.
“Our lawyers will be applying for a stay pending appeal. For that to happen, we need to have the money ready,” said Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan on the website today.
“And should the stay be not granted, we will have to pay RM350,000 in the coming weeks. Otherwise, RAGM can take winding-up proceedings against us,” he added.
Gan said if the court decision stood, it would be very difficult for the portal’s journalists to cover events, especially press conferences in a timely manner.