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Malaysia’s The Edge wins damages claim for licence suspension over 1MDB reporting

The EdgeThere was some good news for press freedom and the independent press in Malaysia today when the country’s Home Minister was ordered to pay damages to the publisher of The Edge for suspending the publication for its reporting of the 1MDB corruption scandal.

The business title took a big financial hit for the suspension, which was issued for three months, with the closure of the independent news website The Edge owns, The Malaysian Insider, partly a result of these losses.

The Home Minister’s appeal for the damages to be overturned was dismissed by the High Court, the Malay Mail is reporting, although it is unclear how much the publisher will get by way of compensation.

In September 2015, the Kuala Lumpur High Court quashed the Home Ministry’s three-month suspension order on The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Weekly over its reporting of government investment vehicle 1MDB, which has attracted ongoing international media attention to the conduct of Malaysia’s political elite.

The judge assessing the case back then ruled that the Home Ministry “acted irrationally and illegally” by issuing the suspension order, and had acted unfairly by issuing a suspension letter to the publisher.

The news comes two months after The Edge’s website The Edge Markets was forced to switch domains after a series of cyber attacks.

Malaysia ranks 146th in the Reporters without Borders press freedom index, and 20th for APAC countries. It ranks eight places above close neighbour Singapore.

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