Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lawyers defend Teresa’s satire video

PETALING JAYA: Action cannot be taken against Seputeh MP Teresa Kok on her Chinese New Year (CNY) video as it was not seditious.

Bar Council president Christopher Leong said today that there was nothing seditious about the video as far as the law and the Sedition Act was concerned.
And this, he said, was regardless whether some may find the video entertaining or otherwise.

He further pointed out how there were various ways to highlight serious issues or expound issues of concern.
“Being grim-faced with frown lines when doing so is one way, but that is not necessarily the only way.
“One may convey concerns or express an opinion on issues through numerous mediums like oratory, debate, written articles, cartoons, theatrical plays, satire and poems,” Leong told FMT.
As such, it is all about getting a message across in a peaceful way.
“There does not appear to be any element of incitement in the video. The fact that some people are taking offence to it and may excite or incite themselves, does not mean that the video and its contents are unlawful,” he said.
Leong added that in order to move forward, people should not interpret laws to pander to the lowest denominator.
“Education must be the key, not outmoded draconian laws,” said Leong.
Kok was accused of inciting racial hatred with her ‘Onederful Malaysia CNY 2014′ video.
The 11.39-minute video which was uploaded on her website last Tuesday portrayed Kok as a feng shui host interviewing three panelists regarding the CNY and their feng shui predictions.
Other than the experts’ advice on several issues such as security, wealth, education and the economy, references were made to diamond rings, branded handbags and real estate in New York.

Political satire

Padang Serai MP and Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) founder N Surendran was also of the opinion that Kok did not break any laws with her video.
“The video is just a political satire on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s wife (Rosmah Mansor). And this is entirely acceptable in any proper democracy,” he said.
The PKR vice president added that Kok video was also consistent with Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which talks about freedom of speech and expression, and as such, had the right to criticise the government through satire.
“As far as the law is concerned, the video is not seditious. Therefore, there is no law that allows action be taken against her (Kok).
“For those who said the video is seditious, they are the ones disrespecting and disregarding the Constitution,” he said.
He pointed out how those who called for action to be taken against Kok will only make themselves look ‘silly’.
“If Umno cannot accept this, then they do not understand what democracy is all about,” he said.
Federal Territories Umno Youth had called on Kok to apologise for the video because it contained “racial elements”.
In response, Kok said she would not apologise for the video as it was up to the people to interpret who the three characters were.
The police on the other hand said it will scrutinise the contents of Kok’s video clip to determine whether it was seditious or defamatory.
Internal Security and Public Order director Salleh Mat Rashid said relevant action would be taken against Kok if she had committed an offence on the video.

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