Friday 23 December 2011

A right to reply

I’ve been known to be critical of certain people and organisations but I also believe in fair play and offering people a second chance. At Consumer Watchdog we’ve always guaranteed the people and companies we criticise a guaranteed right of reply. So long as they’re polite then they can respond. They can even criticise us if they want, even when they’re not entirely rational.

I thought that as a demonstration of this and as a special gesture of Christmas generosity I’d publish an email we received a few days ago. This was from the so-called “Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British)”. Despite it’s name this place has nothing to do with Northern Ireland and isn’t British. They have no permanent presence anywhere in the UK and they’re not a registered company there. What’s more none of their "academic staff" can be traced and they claim accreditation from a non-recognised accreditation body. You should also ask yourself why they have a web site that ends in "", suggesting that they're in the UK, when in fact their web site was registered as a "Non-UK Corporation" in February 2008 to an address in Malaysia. [Correction, this has now been changed, I believe on 22nd December to "Other UK Entity".]

Their email is an extreme example of the sort of thing we sometimes have to deal with. You can see the long running saga on the Consumer Watchdog blog but I thought I’d let you decide whether they’re being reasonable. I haven’t edited it other than to remove some boring details like addresses and some strange spacing. The spelling is exactly as I received it. See what you think.
"To Richard Harriman, Consumer Watchdog, the Mmegi

On l8/7/2011 you arrogantly posted three links in your blog in the internet and many links in Wikepedia and nastily asked us to Google search for the articles which defaming the Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British) as fake, as Malaysia institute, not a registered company, fake accreditation, scam, Richard Lim as none existing and fake, etc.

You even sarcastically asked “How’s business? This is clearly shown that you possessed an ill intention to tarnish the reputation of the institute and intentionally to destroy the business of its agent Victoria Business Centre.

Tell us honestly how you how much you have been paid for the blogger job?

On 20/11/2011, you wrote again and agitated us to follow through legal action against you. You remarked that taking legal action against you was a silly threat.

You even dare to challenge us to lodge Internpol/FBI police report on you. Then you remark “So you were joking then?” Do you think that the Interpol and the FBI are simply set up for joking only? Come on; do not show under estimate and disrespects the ability of the Interpol and the FBI. Show your respect on them, ok!

We have been very patient with you when you began to slandering and defaming NIIBT and its agent Victoria Business Centre in the internet since 2009. Your slanderous, defamation and unlawful interfere of the internal affairs of both establishments have affected our educational service greatly.

On behalf of Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British) and its agent, Richard Lim force to lodge an Interpol police report against you of your wrong doing. You are strongly urged to remove all the slanderous and defamation articles on Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British) and NIIBT both from your blogs as found in the internet, Wikipedia, facebook, twitter and others immediately to avoid being sued.

A copy of genuine Interpol police report against you by Richard Lim, Senior Manager of International Affairs and Communication is attached for your prompt retract all the articles as posted in your blogs in the internet, wikipedia and others.

Should you fail to do so, you and your papers are really going to face the Interpol/the FBI plus suing you for tarnishing the reputation of the institute and its agent.

Can you provide us your physical address?

Our claim for damage on slandering and defaming on Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British) and its agent is going to be USD6 millions. You are urged to treat this matter as serious and removing all slanderous and defamation articles on NIIBT, unlawfully using the NIIBT logo, unlawfully interference of the internal affairs of NIIBT and its agent in your blogs, etc from the internet and wikipedia instantly."
Is that entirely rational? Forgive me for thinking that either the author is very excitable or he hadn’t taken his medication that morning.

Here’s a few facts.

Interpol. Interpol is not a police force. It is described as "an organization facilitating international police cooperation". You cannot complain or lay a charge with Interpol. Their job is simply to enable different national police forces to cooperate with each other.

The FBI. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a US Federal law enforcement agency whose jurisdiction is limited to issues affecting the USA. It has no jurisdiction or interest in fake non-accredited educational establishments based in Malaysia who claim to be based in the UK when they are, in fact, not.

Defamation. Section 195 of the Penal Code of Botswana say that comment cannot be considered defamation if "the matter is true and it was for the public benefit that it should be published". The laws of Malaysia protect "justification" and "fair comment" in their Defamation Act of 1957. Nothing I've said has been untrue or an unfair comment. OK, perhaps the time I called them lunatics was going a bit far but they did say some bizarre things such as "Action will be taken against internet terrorist of foul international law" which I think meant me.

So, Merry Christmas to all the smart and attractive Mmegi readers and “Keep taking the pills” to my Malaysian friends!

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