In Malaysia, the interplay between the notion of freedom of expression, the rights of the media to publish statements as well as articles at will, and the law of defamation is very much a complex one. This is particularly exacerbated in a country of diverse political views, differing social and economic backgrounds, increasing wealth gaps between the minority urban elite and the majority rural folk as well as increasing racial polarisation. In this context, the role of online news platforms or blogs seeking to provide different perspectives by reference to the daily news, political viewpoints or perceived matters of general or public interest has become increasingly prevalent – the historical reliance on receiving news or insights from traditional broadsheets no longer being the norm.

Against this backdrop, there have been significant decisions of the courts in Malaysia in so far as the law of defamation is concerned vis-à-vis, articles or statements published by online news portals or blogs relating to the defences of justification, qualified privilege generally and fair comment. In this article, the recent decision of the Federal Court of Malaysia in Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd & Ors v Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd by way of Federal Court Civil Appeal No. 02(f)-61-08/2018(W) that was delivered on 2nd July 2021 will be specifically examined (“Mkini Dotcom v RAGM”).