Punishment for defamer: Send 100 tweets of apology

A Malaysian man defames a magazine publisher. As part of the settlement, he must send 100 apologetic tweets over a three-day period.

I am sure that soccer star Ryan Giggs and others who feel they have somehow been hard done by in writing, will be fueled with enthusiasm for this tale of birching by Twitter.

For the Associated Press reports that Fahmi Fadzil, an aide to an opposition politician and commentator on social issues, was made to undergo a very painful ritual punishment for having defamed a magazine publisher.

Yes, an out-of-court settlement forced him to write 100 tweets of apology over three days. Sadly, it seems these tweets all had to enjoy the same construction.

Which meant that "I am heartbroken to have defamed the great and bountiful magazine publisher" was not followed by "I am on my knees in desperate supplication for forgiveness after my heinous and untrue words."

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

However, Fadzil has been made to regularly tweet: "I've DEFAMED Blu Inc. Media and Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR policies are untrue. I retract those words and hereby apologize."

Indeed, he has, at the time of writing, only managed to tweet 38 of these 140-character self-lashes.

The cause of this punishment was, indeed, tweeting. Fadzil seems to have originally posted that a female friend of his, who happened to be pregnant, was allegedly not treated in the finest of manners by Blu Inc. Media.

Some might wonder, therefore, whether the punishment is an appropriate fit for the crime. But isn't this a touching case of a hundred eyes for an eye, a hundred teeth for a tooth?

I wonder, though, whether this might set an interesting, and even worldwide, trend. For every wrongful tweet about, say, Sarah Palin, miscreants would be forced to tweet a hundred times: "I am a hundred times sorry that I wrote untrue things about the next president of the United States."

And what would be the appropriate punishment for the alleged hacker (if he or she exists) who sent a naughty picture of Rep. Anthony Weiner to an allegedly unsuspecting college student in Seattle?

Would he or she have to send a hundred tweets reading: "I am guilty of erroneously suggesting that a congressman was very prepared to enjoy extramarital congress?"

Updated 7:26 p.m. Fadzil contacted me to explain that this is an out-of-court settlement, not, as previously written, court-directed.

 

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