A free press is essential for a functioning democracy and open economy.
As such, the recent criminal defamation charges against The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd's former editor-in-chief Ahmad Azam Mohd Aris and one of its contributing editors, Shanmugam Murgasu, over their reportage of the abnormal surge of penny stocks in 2020 and 2021 are a travesty.
Media outlets have a duty to report news of public interest — which the alleged penny stock manipulation arguably was — without fear or favour.
The correct legal forum to seek redress, for any individual or organisation which believes themselves defamed or aggrieved by media coverage, is civil suits.
It is hence inappropriate for the Government, through the public prosecutor, to involve itself in what is logically a private dispute.
The charges against the editors should be dropped without delay.
Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Setiawangsa Member of Parliament
The Edge former editor-in-chief charged with criminal defamation for reporting abnormal penny stocks surge
Why charge editors over articles that had exposed stock market manipulation?
Media must be given the freedom to operate freely and fairly, says veteran journalist
Muda: Govt must stop recent media freedom assault against The Edge, NST