Taib’s son’s case: ‘trial by media’ questions
Fair reporting in continuing court cases, rapid filing of news copy, and trial commentaries outside the hearing, leading to a “trial by media” were all brought up at the Kuala Lumpur syariah high court yesterday.
Reporters were urged to be fair to both parties when reporting the divorce proceedings between Mahmud Abu Bekir, son of Sarawak governor Taib Mahmud, and Shahnz Abdul Majid, in which she is claiming RM100mil from Bekir.
Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab spoke of his concern about the impact on public perception brought about by court reports of continuing cases, published quickly before any decision had been made, according to Malaysiakini.
“I am concerned that the story comes out before a decision is being made in the case, as if it is already true. Sometimes, when I look at the computer at 1pm, I find the report already out. It does not only come out here in Malaysia but is reported the world over. I would advise journalists covering the case to be fair in their reports,” he said.
He also noted that some reports on the trial had spelt his name wrongly.
The judge also advised lawyers to make quick rebuttals to claims contained in statements made to reporters outside of the court-room proceedings. This came about after lawyers for Shahnaz had referred to statements made by Abu Bekir outside the court in June.
Such statements had been reported in several news portals; some of what was revealed outside court had not been stated during the trial and amounted to being sub-judice, said lawyer Akbardin Abdul Kader Akbardin.
“We do not want a trial by media,” he said.