PUTRAJAYA: Politicians cannot sue the media for defamation in their capacity as public figures, the Court of Appeal here ruled today.

A three-man bench chaired by Datuk Rohana Yusuf made the decision when allowing Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd’s appeal to strike out a defamation lawsuit brought against it by Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

In her brief decision, she said it was the court’s view that the article, in its context and as a whole, had referred Adnan in his capacity as menteri besar and not as an individual private person.

She said Adnan’s defamation suit against the Malay newspaper should be struck out following an English case law principle, Derbyshire County Council vs Times Newspapers Ltd and others which stated that local authorities could not institute libel action.

The panel, which also included Court of Appeal judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun and High Court judge Datuk Mary Lim ordered Adnan to pay RM3,000 legal costs to Utusan Melayu.