Singapore — Courts should take into consideration that libel damages can be crowdfunded and the amounts should be increased accordingly, says Mr Calvin Cheng.
In a Facebook post on Saturday (Apr 17), the former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) contended that courts should increase the libel damages as supporters of the libellous causes can share in the punishment.
Mr Cheng added that, for years, he has been saying that “not only do the people who write libellous posts be punished, so too should the people who like and share those posts”.
His post comes after blogger and financial adviser Leong Sze Hian successfully crowdfunded the full amount of S$133,000 he was ordered to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation.
Mr Leong was sued for sharing, on his Facebook page, an article from the Malaysian news site The Coverage that falsely linked PM Lee to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal in Malaysia.
Similarly, blogger Roy Ngerng, also crowdfunding, raised S$144,000 in just nine days. The blogger was ordered by the High Court to pay S$150,000 to PM Lee after a defamation suit in 2015. Mr Lee sued him for an article he wrote on his blog, The Heart Truths.
“The people who donated to them are very likely the same kind of people who would like and share their libellous posts.
“By donating to the damages, they are sharing in the punishment,” Mr Cheng added, explaining that, because they shared a portion of the punishment by donating, “the quantum of damages is now too small”.
His opinion was not a popular one as many in the comments section disagreed with him.
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