Monday, July 16, 2007

Bloggers don't have more privileges

Kuala Lumpur STAR newspaper reported the views of visiting University of Ulster (UK) senior lecturer in Law, Dr Venkat Iyer, that bloggers are liable for defamation as publishers in any other medium.

However, the difficulty arises when there are anonymous postings on blogs. It is this anonymity that creates a legal "grey area".

Dr Iyer said it was wrong to assume that bloggers enjoyed greater privileges than publishers in other media.

He said there have been cases in the West where legal action had been taken against websites for defamatory remarks. Some website owners were also taken to court when an offending anonymous posting was made, he said.

He was speaking to reporters after delivering a talk on "Defamation in Cyberspace" held by the Kuala Lumpur Bar on Saturday as part of its ongoing legal education program.

The Internet, he said, was a unique medium as it had a limitless potential audience, was easy to access, and had the ability to create communities regardless of geographical constraints.

He said the cyber-defamation possibilities included email messages, where risks are inherent when the recipient forwards such messages.

Well, thanks Dr Iyer, food for thought.

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