6,000 Letters Defamation Trial: TV3 Journalist Denies Making Comments

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 – A TV3 broadcast journalist told the High Court here today that he did not add his own comments to the “6,000 Letters” news article he wrote based on a press conference, which was aired on Buletin Utama on Aug 2, 2013.

A. Selwam, 35, who worked for TV3 as its northern division correspondent said his news report was focused only on the media conference called by Datuk Dr Mazlan Ismail on 6,000 letters with the heading, “Bank Leak Anwar Karpal” which the former Barisan Nasional (BN) Permatang Pauh candidate (Mazlan) had allegedly received.

“I did not make any comment regarding the letters as the news report was filled with Mazlan’s comments,” he said while testifying in former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defamation suit against Mazlan, TV3 and Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd.

The first witness from TV3 said he received a call from Mazlan on Aug 1, 2013, a day before the broadcast of the news report, informing him that he was going to call for a media conference on 6,000 letters that were allegedly sent to his residence by post and some, delivered to his doorstep.

“At the media conference, Mazlan stressed that he did not want to get involved in the matter and wanted to return the letters and had no idea why the letters were sent to him,” Selwam said.

Responding to Anwar’s lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, the witness admitted that he did not confirm with Anwar or lawyer Karpal Singh on whether the information received by Mazlan was authentic or not. Asked by Mazlan’s lawyer Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican whether he had any intention to expose the contents of the letters, Selwam replied in the negative.

“During the media conference, Mazlan did not distribute copies of the letters and did not read out the whole contents,” he said, adding that Mazlan only talked about “Bank Leak Anwar Karpal”.

Anwar filed the suit on Oct 15, 2015, alleging that Mazlan had caused TV3 to slander him through Buletin Utama at 8pm on Aug 2, 2013, and caused Utusan Malaysia to commit libel against him in a publication dated Aug 3, 2013.

He alleged that Mazlan in his statement at the press conference had linked him with corruption involving the judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Chambers which implied that he was unethical, corrupted, involved in crime-related activities, dishonest and immoral. The trial before judicial commissioner Datuk Faizah Jamaludin has been adjourned to May 2. — Bernama

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