KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today ordered TV3 to pay a total of RM1.1 million in damages to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after finding that the television station had defamed him in a news report linking him to the Lahad Datu intrusion in Sabah, five years ago.
Judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim in allowing Anwar’s suit said TV3 had failed to practice responsible journalism when it did not seek verification on the authenticity of the news before airing it in its Buletin Utama on March 2, 2013.
The court also found that there was malice on TV3’s part for broadcasting the news which was purely based on Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd’s report.
Ahmad Zaidi said despite Utusan admitting that its report was false and has no basis, TV3’s CEO was still adamant not to settle the suit.
“A defendant’s (TV3) witness admitted during cross-examination (in the trial) that no efforts were made to contact the plaintiff (Anwar) for verification.
“The court also found that there is malice and based on that the court allows exemplary damages,” Ahmad Zaidi said.
The judge ordered TV3 to pay RM600,000 in general damages, and RM250,000 respectively in aggravated and exemplary damages to the former opposition leader.
He also ordered RM40,000 as costs.
On March 8, 2013, Anwar filed a suit against Utusan Melayu, Utusan Group editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak, TV3, Media Prima Bhd Television and Radio Networks, News and Current Affairs, group managing editor Datuk Shaharudin Abd Latif, and Buletin Utama news editor Ing Boon Seng.
The former Permatang Pauh member of parliament was suing them over the articles ‘Opposition Leader Linked To Intrusion?’ and ‘Three Groups Were Responsible’, that were published in Utusan Malaysia on March 2, 2013.
He also alleged that between 8pm and 9pm on the same day, TV3, Shaharudin and Ing broadcasted the news on the Lahad Datu intrusion, based on the Utusan Malaysia newspaper reports in Buletin Utama.
On Oct 5, 2016, Anwar settled the case with Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak after both parties reached a compromise.–BERNAMA / – May 14, 2018 @ 7:22pm