Monday, June 06, 2011

Man Tweets Apology to Settle Defamation Accusations


We keep saying that social media is everywhere. Well, that may be very close to being true because it is even beginning to creep into our forms of punishment now. A recent defamation case in Malaysia was settled in a very unusual fashion just recently. A Malaysian blogger was accused of defaming a magazine publishing company, so what punishment has he agreed to…why tweeting an apology one hundred times of course!

According to the Daily Mail, Fahmi Fadzil will indeed tweet an apology to the publishing company one hundred times as his punishment for the defamation accusations. In January activist Fadzil made an accusation via his Twitter account that caused quite an uproar. He claimed Blu Inc Media, the publisher of Female Magazine, had mistreated his friend who was pregnant, causing her to leave her position with the company. He later retracted the brash statement that he had made, but the lawyers for Blu Inc Media still made sure to send Fadzil a letter demanding financial damages and a formal apology published in a newspaper.

The issue was settled out of court, and both parties agreed that Fadzil would tweet an apology via his Twitter account one hundred times. They decided that the tweet would read as follows: “I've defamed Blu Inc Media & Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words & hereby apologize."

Fadzil began his long line of tweets on Thursday and sent them out about every 30 minutes or so. The editor of Female Magazine, Seema Viswanathan, said that she believed that the punishment was very appropriate. She went on to say that Fadzil’s tweet could have had a harmful effect on Blu Inc Media as a company, so the retraction and apology seemed fitting.

"Problems began when he first tweeted that his pregnant friend had resigned due to our treatment and there were a dozen or so follow up tweets," Viswanathan told CampaignAsia.com. "It wasn't just one tweet and he had an audience of about 4,200 followers. These followers on Twitter added to the negative posting agreeing that Blu Inc was a bad employer who discriminated against women. The main thing you have to realize is that it was all untrue."

The odd punishment that was decided upon for Fadzil sparked plenty of discussions. The conversations (under the hashtag #defahmi) revolved around some of the issues in the country surrounding the use of social media. In past years there have been some issues including the punishment of some who dare to raise their negative opinions concerning the Malaysian royalty.

"First time witnessing a 'community service sentence' on Twitter," tweeted blogger Christopher Tock. "Will this be something common in future years?"

John Syahredzan, a lawyer at Blu Inc Media, confirmed that this is indeed the first time that the company has utilized Twitter as a means of settling a defamation case. I guess we will just have to monitor if this continues to occur in the future.


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1 comment:

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