PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here has granted news portal Malaysiakini leave to challenge an appellate court's decision that found its articles and videos on Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) defamatory.
Malaysiakini was ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay RM350,000 in damages and legal costs to the RAGM earlier in January.
A three-man panel led by Federal Court judge Justice Zainun Ali allowed nine out of the 14 leave questions by the applicant here Wednesday (July 11).
Justices Azahar Mohamed and Aziah Ali also sat on the panel.
In the unanimous decision, Justice Zainun said the questions of law posed to the apex court should focus on the defence of reportage and damages.
The court however did not fix a date for the hearing yet.
On Jan 11, a three-man bench at the Court of Appeal found that the news portal had defamed the RAGM through its articles and videos.
The panel also allowed an injunction on the publication of the three articles and two videos.
The Court of Appeal said the portal’s reports and videos on the gold mine were “reckless” and carried an accusatory and damaging tone.
It added that the reports were one-sided as it did not carry responses from the Environment Department, the Health Ministry and the Land and Mines Department.
The court then ordered for Malaysiakini to pay RM200,000 in damages and RM150,000 in legal costs to RAGM.
On May 23, 2016, the High Court dismissed RAGM’s claim against Malaysiakini and three other defendants who were members of the editorial staff.
The Bukit Koman villagers in Pahang had alleged that the use of cyanide-related chemicals to extract gold at the mine had affected their health.
Lawyer Datuk Cyrus Das appeared for Malaysiakini, while Tan Sri Cecil Abraham represented RAGM.