New Straits Times has published an apology following the settlement of a defamation suit brought by BERSIH 2.0, Centre for Independent Journalism, Merdeka Center, and SUARAM. The apology, reproduced below, was published on page 3 of its print edition and online:
NST apologises to Bersih 2.0, Suaram, CIJ and Merdeka Center for groundless allegations
ON 21.9.2012, we published in our daily newspaper, and online newsportal, NST Online (http:///www.nst.com.my/) an article entitled ‘Plot to destabilise govt” with the subtitle “Exposed: RM20 million paid to several Malaysian organizations since 2005” [“Article”].
In essence the Article alleged that The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, popularly known as Bersih 2.0, Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, popularly known as SUARAM, Centre for Independent Journalism, popularly known as CIJ and Merdeka Strategic Development Centre Sdn Bhd, popularly known as Merdeka Center had received vast sums of monies from foreign elements for the purposes of destabilizing or overthrowing through illegal means the Government of Malaysia, to bring down Malaysia’s economy, to interfere in Malaysia’s politics and to cause political unrest in Malaysia similar to political unrest experienced in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and/or Syria.
We acknowledge that the accusations above that we made in the said Article were false and without foundation. We also acknowledge that we had no proof whatsoever to substantiate any of the said allegations and that we did not verify the information and facts relied on with Bersih 2.0, CIJ, SUARAM and Merdeka Center. There was insufficient verification of the information used to support the said allegations. Accordingly, we acknowledge that the Article ought not to have been published.
We wish to offer our unqualified apologies to Bersih 2.0, SUARAM, CIJ and Merdeka Center for the distress and embarrassment caused by the Article.