It's an unprecedented settlement in a legal case involving a publishing conglomerate, Blu Inc Media, and a well-known Malaysian social activist, Fahmi Fadzil. Fadzil was ordered to tweet an apology 100 times on Twitter over 3 days.
Beginning today and lasting until June 4, the following sentence has been tweeted more than a dozen times: “I've DEFAMED Blu Inc Media & Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words & hereby apologize.”
The tweets are coming from Fahmi Fadzil and are directed at more than 4,500 followers, a number that’s steadily increasing.
The apologies come in the wake of a defamation suit filed by Blu Inc Media. Despite an apology and retraction of the remark hours after Fahmi tweeted it, Blu Inc Media won a settlement that will see Fadzil tweet the above sentence 100 times over three days.
The remarks that sparked the lawsuit stem back to January when Fadzil commented on the alleged poor treatment of his pregnant friend who was employed by Blu Inc Media. That was followed by a letter from a lawyer who said the comments were defamatory.
“In terms of defamation, we are definitely entering uncharted waters,” Fadzil's lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, told the Express Tribune. “In terms of blogging, there have been cases of apologies on the net but this is the first of its kind in Malaysia in terms of tweeting an apology. The only reason why this (Twitter apology) came about was because both parties agreed to it. At least this allows for a form of settlement — at least this is a way out.”
Friends and followers, including Members of Parliament, are responding in an outpour of support for Fadzil. The hashtag #defahmi was created just to spread the message to all those who believe in the freedom to Tweet one's thoughts without legal repercussions like this.
Twitter was abuzz with questions and concerns when Fadzil began the tweet with "1/100" this morning, indicating it was the first of 100 apologies that would be made.
Several people who are outraged by the ruling have sworn-off the magazines published by Blu Inc Media in a bid to support Fadzil.
This case drew ire from sympathetic followers who feel that a single apology should have been accepted before closing the case.
Follow @Fahmi_Fadzil on Twitter and #defahmi to see what people are saying about the case.