WHY NOT DROP DEFAMATION SUITS AND HAVE DIALOGUES?

1. There has been a petition going around opposing the use of defamation suits. Two of the most commonly reasons given are that defamation suits have an “silencing effect” on the issues being raised and that it stifles discourse, and the other being that defamation suits could be potentially “financially ruinous”. These two reasons are often lumped together as the “heavy-handedness” on the part of the plaintiff(s). Are those valid reasons? Additionally, some people suggest dialogues over speculated issues. Can it be valid?

2. First of all, people should see defamation suits as opportunities for the person to prove, give basis to, and to substantiate what he/she had said/written on particular issues. While there could be many platforms for people to do so, the independent and reliable judiciary system is indeed the best one for people to do just that.

3. Therefore, there should be no reason for anyone to turn down a request to prove, give basis to, and to substantiate what he/she had said/written if he/she really believes in his/hers own words. A relevant question would be why would anyone not seize the opportunity to prove whatever had been said/written?

4. What about the “silencing effect” of law suits? If one can seize the opportunity and is able to prove, give basis to, and to substantial what he/she had said/written, with the same courage and conviction he/she has when making those statements, then credence would be given to what had been said/written. By that point, there will no “silencing effect” of the suit because there’s no need to gag the truths and facts. In additionally and only then, can dialogues and conversations be started and built upon the already proven issues, because there’s no reason at all and very unproductive for talking over speculations.

5. Moving on to the “financially ruinous effect” of law suits. How will law suits be ruinous financially to anybody if he/she can prove, give basis to, and to substantiate what had been said/written? No doubt legal fees would be incurred, but would it be financially ruinous? Or it is more probable that law suits would be financially ruinous when one has to pay damages for being unable to give basis to what he/she had said/written, thereby being guilty of defamation?

6. I think it should be clear to readers under what circumstances would defamation suits be “financially ruinous” and having the “silencing effect” on issues. Much has been written on the reasons for opposing the use of defamation suits, including those who decide to stand by those people who received such letters of demand. People should ponder why do they oppose the use of defamation suits for it’s supposedly “financially ruinous” and “silencing” effects. Additionally, dialogues are for the exchange of ideas, and certainly not for thrashing out what are speculations and what are not. So before you enter a dialogue, please at least be able to back up your own points!

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  1. #1 by Reality Checks on June 4, 2014 - 5:57 am

    3) Legal suits are not that noble or holy in settling differences between individuals. Legal suit is basically a legal way for the elites(what they lack in brawn), the squares and the wealthy to beat someone(usually someone of weaker circumstances or finances) up for offensive behavior and offensive speeches. There was a time where brute beasts will slug it out in a war of words with their fists. These fights sometimes have to clear right or wrong but often about power and egos(real reasons behind fights).

    These days, in a better regulated and controlled society, people take their brutal, bitter and equally bloody fights to the court room instead of to the wrestling ring. Fighting in court is mostly about power and ego especially for political opponents – no difference from street fights because damages to the losers are as bloody.

    In the words of the strongman….

    “I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind – an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. If you can’t force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.”
    ― Lee Kuan Yew

    “Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no way you can govern a Chinese society.”- “The Man and His Ideas, 1997 “

    “Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.” – Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 1997, South China Morning Post

  2. #2 by In court on June 4, 2014 - 6:16 am

    Both are losers.

  3. #3 by DP on June 4, 2014 - 7:38 am

    Defamation suits only work when you have a compliant judiciary. One need not be Einstein to note that all the action only happens here. Which only goes to prove that they have no honor or reputation to defend in other parts of the world. For all the boasting about leadership, this is the hard truth, nothing but courtyard bullies

  1. Daily SG: 4 Jun 2014 | The Singapore Daily

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