Media Law Case Studies Essay

1627 words - 7 pages

Title and Citation
Mark Koding v. Public Prosecutor
[1982] 2 MLJ 120
Facts
On 11 October 1978, the Accused, Mark Koding, a lawyer and member of the Dewan Rakyat made a speech in Parliament which was thought to be seditious. He was subsequently charged with committing an offence under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act.
Issues
1. Whether, as a Member of Parliament (MP), the Accused’s right of free speech in Parliament, given by sections 3 and 8 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance [No. 15 of] 1952 and Article 63(2) of the 1957 Federal Constitution, has been validly limited by the subsequent amendment made to Article 63 with the addition of Clause (4) by the ...view middle of the document...

2. The Accused’s right of free speech in Parliament is not instrumental in forming the basic structure of the constitution. Thus, it was deemed unnecessary to decide whether or not any amendments made to said Article will destroy the Constitution’s basic structure. In addition, the Accused’s right of free speech is not part of the fundamental rule of natural justice.
Therefore, the amendments made to Article 63 – the addition of Clause (4) limiting MPs’ right of free speech in Parliament – are valid.
3. It was decided that it would be premature and speculative to answer this question at the present stage. The answer is deemed to be bound up with uncertain facts of the case and any proceedings made would be based on assumptions. Counsel was advised to forward the submission prepared to the trial Judge, of whom the case was further referred to.
Held
The case was accordingly directed to the learned trial Judge for continuation and disposal in accordance with the aforementioned judgment and otherwise according to law.

Title and Citation
Public Prosecutor v. Param Cumaraswamy
[1986] 1 MLJ 518
Facts
The accused, Vice President of the Bar Council Param Cumaraswamy, was charged for committing an offence under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 (Revised 1969) for uttering seditious words during a press conference at the office of the Selangor and Federal Territory Bar Committee on 24 July 1985.
The accused was making an open appeal to the Pardons Board to reconsider the petition of Sim Kie Chon, who was charged under the Internal Security Act for possessing an unlicensed forearm, for the commutation of his death sentence.
Issues
1. Whether the words uttered by Cumaraswamy can be considered seditious under Section 3 of the Sedition Act.
2. Whether the statement made by Cumaraswamy incited feelings of ill-will and hostility between the different classes of the Malaysian population under Section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act.
3. Whether the statement made by Cumaraswamy incited hatred or contempt or excited disaffection against the Authority under Section 3(1)(a).

Reasoning
1. Uttered words can only be considered seditious if they achieve one or more of the instruments specified in Section 3(1) of the Sedition Act.
Section 3(1)(d) of the Sedition Act 1948 states that for uttered words to be considered seditious, it must be capable of raising discontent or disaffection amongst the people of Malaysia. The press statement was an open appeal to the Pardons Board urging them to exercise their powers uniformly so that the people would not be made to feel that the Board was discriminatory. It was agreed by the Court that the words which were used were unlikely to create discontent or disaffection neither among the people nor against the Authority i.e. Yang di-Pertuan Agong, any other Rulers of State and the government.
2. Section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act defines an act with seditious tendency that is capable...

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