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Defamation Law Reform Sub-Committee Webinar Series on The Defence of Fair Comment
Presenters : Mr. Rajan Navaratnam, Ms. Munita Kaur, Ms. Saraswathy Shirke Deo & Mr. Muhammad Adam Abdullah
Posted in : The Defence of Fair Comment
CPD Activity (1.0 credit)
About the Course
This webinar will cover the following aspects:
  • Remarkably over 50 years ago Diplock LJ in Slim v Daily Telegraph Ltd [1968] 2 QB 157 referred to “the artificial and archaic character of the tort of libel”. And then, some 30 years Parker LJ in Brent Walker Group plc v Time Out Ltd [1991] 2 QB 33 commented on the absurdity of the “tangled web of the law of defamation”. The United Kingdom witnessed its long-awaited reform in the form of the Defamation Act 2013, and one, if not the main, reason for enacting the 2013 Act was the concern that the English defamation law was diminishing free speech and how it impairs the communication of public information about matters of legitimate public interest and concern.
  • The prevailing sentiment in Malaysia is that the reform of our defamation law is long overdue and warrants a timely review. Our Defamation Act 1957 is not a comprehensive piece of legislation, and up till now Malaysia’s law on defamation has developed along the lines of the English common law. In introducing changes to our defamation law, it is however, pertinent that the proposed changes cater to our local needs, values and aspirations.
  • As the Defamation Law Reform Subcommittee — which is set up under Bar Council Law Reform and Special Areas Committee — embarks on its task to propose reforms, it seeks to align our defamation law to modern times, where there’s public demand for free speech, accountability, transparency, and good governance at one end, and the need to protect one’s reputation against defamatory attacks on the other end of the spectrum. This is especially true, in today’s digital age where defamatory speech, comments or publication can spread wide and far at lightning speed.
  • In this webinar, we will explore the defence of fair comment, a bedrock of free speech. We will include in our discourse the following areas:
    • Importance of the defence of fair comment;
    • An overview of the defence as it is applied in the Malaysian setting; and
    • What reforms, if any, we can introduce to the defence of fair comment.
Upon viewing all the videos and completing the quiz in this course, you will be given 1 CPD point.

About the Presenters

Mr. Rajan Navaratnam
Rajan Navaratnam graduated from University of Wales, United Kingdom. He is a Barrister-at-Law and a member of The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. He was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1998, and presently is a consultant with Shahrizat Rashid & Lee. His practice areas are corporate and commercial litigation, and criminal law. Over the years, he has represented many clients in Malaysia and abroad, and his views and opinions on legal matters is frequently sought by the mainstream media. He has handled many briefs at the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. He also holds a Certificate in Financial Accounting from Harvard Business School and a Certificate for Financial Analysis and Valuation from Harvard Law School. He is also member of the Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia.
Ms. Munita Kaur
Munita Kaur is a partner at Munita & Satvinder, a boutique law firm located in the suburbs of Bangsar. Munita is a graduate of University of London, and was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1998. Munita also holds an LLM degree from University of Malaya and an MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law from University of Manchester. Munita has academic experience, especially in tort law. Munita was part of a team of leading academics at Malaysia’s Primer Private Law Colleges, having taught at both Advance Tertiary College (Kuala Lumpur and Penang) and Brickfields Asia College, Kuala Lumpur, on the areas tort law, medical law, contract law, the law of succession, and general paper on the Certificate of Legal Practice. Munita has taught on an ad hoc basis at the Law Faculty of University of Malaya, and at the Biomedical Faculty of International Medical University. Munita has also held positions as a visiting law lecturer at Intect Tertiary College, Singapore; Lingnan University Hong Kong; and the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. Munita currently teachers healthcare ethics and law on a part-time basis at University of Malaya’s Medical Faculty. Munita is part of Malaysia’s Bioethics Community and is a member of Clinical Ethics Malaysia.
Ms. Saraswathy Shirke Deo
Saraswathy Shirke Deo (Sara Deo) started her career as principal lecturer in law in 1999. She has lectured on law of tort, constitutional and administrative law, contract law, medical law, employment law, company law, cyber law and media law. She has lectured these subjects in both the United Kingdom and Australian law programmes. After leaving academia, she pursued practice of law in 2013 under leading litigators, putting her knowledge in substantive law to handle civil litigation. She currently practices under her own boutique law firm Sara Deo & Co., focusing on the line of substantive areas of law that she has lectured. She has always taken a keen interest in law reform and studies the law reform trends in different jurisdictions. She has published several articles in law journals for over a decade. She gives lectures and talks on subjects of her interest with her characteristic engaging style, delivering complicated concepts in a crisp and simple manner. She is the current Chairperson of the Defamation Law Reform Subcommittee of the Bar Council Law Reform and Special Areas Committee.
Mr. Muhammad Adam Abdullah
Muhammad Adam Abdullah graduated with an LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Malaya in 1995, and was one of the top ten students in the graduating class of 1995. Adam was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1996 and has been in practice for quarter of a decade. His areas of practice involve commercial contracts, company law and practice, commercial law, share sale agreements, general civil litigation, medico-legal law, law relating to local government, landlord and tenant, labour law, tortious claims, land law, law relating to trustees, administration and probate, partnership law, taxation law and quasi-criminal practice. He regularly advises and renders legal advice to public-listed companies and private limited companies. Adam appears in first instance matters and appears as counsel in appellate matters in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. He has also appeared and conducted matters in the Industrial and Labour Courts, before the Special Commissioners of Income Tax, Arbitration and Disciplinary Tribunals. He acted as counsel to the Sultan of Selangor, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, Tengku Laksamana of Selangor Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Sulaiman Shah Alhaj, and members of the Royal Family of Selangor relating to the Estate of the 11th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Al-Marhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj and other related matters. Adam is an articulate speaker and often delivers keynote speeches and talks at two of Malaysia’s premier higher learning institutions on matters related to contract, employment and tort law. Adam has had the opportunity to chair Disciplinary Committees appointed from time to time by the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board ("ASDB") by virtue of section 103A of the Legal Profession Act 1976. He is a member of the Bar Council Civil Law Committee and the Defamation Law Reform Subcommittee of the Bar Council Law Reform and Special Areas Committee.