KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 – The Sessions Court here today dismissed the application by video news portal KiniTV and two of its directors to refer the constitutionality of the two charges against them to the High Court.
Judge Zaman Mohd Noor made the ruling after finding that the charges faced by KiniTV, Steven Gan Diong Keng, 56, and J. Premesh Chandran, 49, did not contravene the constitution, and ordered the trial to proceed on May 15. The applicants’ grounds were that the charges were unconstitutional and violated freedom of expression on the internet.
KiniTV, Gan and Premesh are charged with posting two offensive material via a video in July 2016 in which former Batu Kawan Umno vice chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan had criticised the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.
KiniTV Sdn Bhd is accused of making and sending offensive material through two versions of a video titled, “Khairuddin: Apandi Ali tidak layak jadi AG, wajar segera letak jawatan” and “Khairuddin: Apandi Ali not fit to be AG, he should quit immediately”.
The videos were allegedly seen at 10 am on Aug 2, 2016 at the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Precinct 4, Putrajaya. Earlier, their counsel Farhan Haziq argued that the charges were inconsistent with Section 3(3) 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
But Communications and Multimedia Commission chief prosecutor Mohd Sophian Zakaria countered that Section 233 did not restrict but allowed freedom of expression in the internet save for obscene, offensive or fake material, to safeguard public order and morality.
KiniTV, which is also the subsidiary of news portal Malaysiakini allegedly uploaded the two videos via http//www.kinitv.com/video/36070308 at 1.14pm and http//www.kinitv.com/video/36708074 at 1.34pm on July 27, 2016.
Meanwhile, Gan and Premesh Chandran also claimed trial to two similar charges. KiniTV was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 while Gan Premesh, under Section 244(1) of the same Act, which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or up to one year imprisonment on conviction. — Bernama