Influential bloggers, Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan, have been served with different suits relating to blog posts in their respective websites.
The lawyer who served the notice to Ahirudin represented News Straits Times Press (NSTP), its deputy chairperson Kalimullah Hassan, chief executive officer Syed Faisal, group editor-in-chief Hishamudin Aun and former group editor Brendan Pereira.
In Nov 2006, Ahirudin and Jeff were embroiled in controversy with NSTP when they revealed that a column in the New Straits Times on Oct 30 under group editor Brendan Pereira’s by-line bore a strong resemblance in style and structure to a column by Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press of Sept 10, 2006.
The reason behind the suits could be more than a mere defamation. The blogs have been a thorn in flesh to some business and political personalities in the country with their sharp and critical remarks and commentaries.
Other bloggers have reacted furiously to the 'attack' by a traditional media, seen as a mouthpiece of UMNO. They have launched a campaign called "Bloggers United" and have toyed with the idea of setting up a legal fund to defend both Jeff and Ahirudin.
Are bloggers really united? This is the best test case.
Nonetheless, the freedom of expression must not be curtailed by multimillion law suits. A prominent politician once said: "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it".
The dictum is not applicable here. I was harrassed by legal letters too. Jeff knew about this.