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Thursday, January 27, 2011

OMG! Sixthseal Is Being Sued For Defamation!

I can't believe this when I woke up this morning and read the link from The Star Online. It's about a restaurant owner suing Google and a blogger. Then I read the blogger name is Poh Huai Bin which happened to be Sixthseal. I know him personally and this is a bit devastating news for me.

This is the excerpt from The Star Online:

"KOTA KINABALU: The director of a fish head curry restaurant which is recommended by Lonely Planet is suing a blogger and Google for defamation.

Jothys Sdn Bhd director Tharumaraj Sivaperumal filed a RM6mil civil suit at the Kota Kinabalu High Court, naming blogger Poh Huai Bin as the first defendant and California-based Google Inc as the second defendant.

The suit filed on Monday is over allegedly defamatory statements made about Jothys Fish Head Curry Restaurant here which was posted in May last year by Poh, who is originally from Sibu, Sarawak and now resides in Kuala Lumpur."

Huai Bin and I when we went to Penang 2 years ago.

So, if we write a bad review about a restaurant and it's because the food and services is real bad and we could get sued? Now I know why Wilson have to back down on the post he's written about the bad services he got from the restaurant where he held his wedding dinner. Wah, now when we blog about something we can only write all the nice thing about a product or service.

Well, I think I'll just not write anything about the bad service or food that I got if I bumped into any. First, I don't want any defamation lawsuit on my back and second, I don't want to give coverage for the product or service that is bad. Even though it is good to warn people about that.

Here I hope that Huai Bin will come true this suit and able to settle the case out of court. All the best Huai Bin.

A comment from Dabido about this issue left on my Facebook link to this post:

"Okay, some things to know about Defamation (I can't seem to post on your blog, so I will write it here).

First, someone commented that it isn't defamation if it is true. Unfortunately, not so. People can still get sued for telling the trut...h about someone.

However, pleading guilty also isn't always an option (which I think you suggested).

I think SIxth Seal could counter sue. After all, his blog is well established and it is technically a publication (such as a newspaper etc).

Did a comment say he got poor treatment at the restaurant?
If he had dinner with witnesses, then I suggest that he call those witnesses to provide support to the claims in his blog.

Though this is along the lines of 'proving' that what was said was true, there is an aspect of it being a 'review' of the food and service at the restaurant. As a publication he is entitled to writing some truth without fear of recrimination.

He should speak to a lawyer though.

I can't see how the restaurant can sue Google though. That's a bit like suing a TV channel for running an advert to buy a magazine that wrote a bad review.

But, not having read Sixth Seals entry (and not being a lawyer) is difficult for me to give much more advice than I have. Like I said, he should speak to a Lawyer, he might have a winnable case, and someone suing for defamation can be counter sued for many things ... included defamation if it can be proved the restauranteur leaked the law suit to the press in order to generate business. Thus, tarnishing Sixth Seals name in order to get free advertising.

But, this is speculation, so I have no actual concrete advise to give, only general advice based on what might be occurring.
[Does that make sense?]"


Michelle Chin said...

If the food and service is bad, people are going to know it eventually, with bloggers or without bloggers. I mean, if someone goes around telling people that a certain restaurant serves really bad food, which is very common topic in conversations, then is the owner going to sue that said person as well?

I think instead of suing, the management should seek to review the problems and try to improve it, if there are any, and maintain what deemed as good.

Simon Seow said...

Michelle: Yeah, so true. I think what they should do is improve their quality and invite the blogger that complained about the food to come try again. Just like what Italiannies did with Cheesie a few years ago when she wrote that the food there is not tasty for her.

Luthien Thye said...

this is ridiculous ... people are allowed to have their opinions on whether the food or service are good or not. this is an independent review. unless the restaurant wants to pay some guy to write only good things, it's ridiculous to sue someone when he's merely stating his opinion. and why can't he blog about it? (unless he's saying something that's untrue or defamatory)if something small like this can get in a lawsuit, then many bloggers will have to close shop already. and why the hell sue blogger???!!!! this guy just wants to create news is it?

Simon Seow said...

Luthien: Yalor. If expressing one's opinion through blog also get sued then there might be many lawsuits following. For example, if a blogger complain about the counter service in a certain bank is very poor and slow in his/her blog. Then what? The bank sue the blogger for defamation? A lot of people complain about Streamyx very slow on Twitter, so TM will sue those people who Tweeted? According to Huai Bin, the restaurant owner is not telling the whole truth about the blog post.

Susan said...

Totally ridiculous! When I read it this morning, I just couldn't believe my eyes too! Just because no business blame it on the bloggers =.= speechless!

Simon Seow said...

Sholee: WTF, right?

Steven said...

I believe in the FREEDOM OF CONSUMERS’ SPEECH. I believe consumer has the right to openly critic companies and their products if it is honest and/or true even though it could be defamatory or strong words which may cause the company to lose financially or their reputation, whereas the company have the right to openly challenge & dispute their critics if they are wrong.

The right of companies to sue for defamation should be severely limited, if not abolished altogether especially for food related companies or in this case restaurant. Consumers should not fear defamation suits if what they have written are true even though it is defamatory.

I am very much against the abuse of the defamation law by companies who misuse the law to silence their critics. Company exists just to make money and what they are actually protecting is their pocket. The only way to fight against companies from abusing the defamation law is to remind them about consumers’ rights and to show them that they have forgotten that their boss is their customers and their customers have the power to judge and not the courts.

Therefore, I have just set up a weblog to create awareness, highlight those defamation cases in Malaysia which should never be dragged to court and to criticise on the old backdated English defamation law adopted by Malaysia courts which is totally outdated and not in line with modern law, time and society. My blog is still very new, but hopefully within time it may create some awareness and do some good for the sake of freedom.

Wilson Ng said...

better be safe than sorry mate