Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014
13
EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO THAILAND 

Press Release

Local EU Statement on the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand 

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Thailand. Bangkok, 14 November 2014

The EU is committed to promoting and protecting the freedom of opinion and expression worldwide.

The EU Delegation wishes to express its concern over the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand. The EU believes that defamation laws should not be misused to censor criticism and debate concerning public issues as this constitutes a serious threat to Freedom of Expression.

Recent cases brought against Human Rights Defender Andy Hall, journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian from the"Phuketwan" newspaper, and the freelance journalist Andrew Drummond have served to demonstrate how criminal defamation laws are vexatiously used to silence freedom of expression and investigative journalism in the country.

The EU would like to appeal to State authorities to fully abide by their international obligations.

As part of wider reform in Thailand, we urge the National Reform Council to address this issue, so that criminal defamation laws can not in the future be used as a means of silencing legitimate analysis or debate.

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The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand supports the following statement endorsed by the European Union heads of mission in Thailand concerning the abuse of a suite of defamation laws that continue to stifle legitimate investigation on matters of public interest, free speech and fair comment with the threat and application of criminal penalties.

There has long been concern in such cases that telling the truth may not stand up as a defense in court. Among a number of other concerns is the use of vexatious litigation, or malicious prosecution, in which defendants are forced to defend multiple similar cases filed in different locations by the same plaintiffs or plaintiffs working in concert. 

Such tactics do not serve the cause of justice or openness and squander public funds in the courts. They should be investigated as a matter of urgency. 


13 comments:

  1. " International obligations" to Thailand means exploit as many Myanmar workers as possible. Truly naive of the EU to expect any kind of behavior in line with international standards. Put a caveat on every visa - WARNING: Thailand does not adhere to modern standards of civility and justice. Travel to and invest in at own risk.

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    1. But it is a step in the right direction, as Barry Kenyon says. Being negative and assuming nothing will change is not helpful

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    2. Negativity is often a symptom of reality. Please don't tell me you are still trusting the ol' "reform" ruse?
      Any noises are simply to appease large foreign investors. It's all thalk, thalk, thalk No one has any intention of derailing the gravy train that has enriched the entire government.

      That have to criminalise truth, or else it will be known to disastrous effects.

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  2. Don't hold your breath. Unfortunately it's used to cover criminal activity.

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  3. I never thought to see the day when the EU ambassadors collectively, including the UK one I understand, would stand hand in hand with AD (shoulder to shoulder may perhaps be more appropriate) by constructively naming him! Must surely merit a word of congratulation. It may make little difference judicially in the immediate term. But the clear public statement that embassies do monitor vexatious litigants and the dubious resort to the computer crime legislation is a step in the right direction, thus showing appreciation of the vulnerability of journalists who are oftentimes exposing serious malpractice in the public interest.



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  4. Oddly enough, none of the major Thai news sites are running with this story....I wonder why?

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    1. But the EU statement is mentioned on page one of the Bangkok Post (Sunday 16 November) and on page two of the Sunday Nation.

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    2. Would have been nice to have seen it in their online editions - so far only Prachathai :-)

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  5. Congratulations, Andrew! A definite step in the right direction.

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  6. Very impressive, AD.

    And they actually exist, unlike "influential figures" people may claim to know or take selfies with at functions or just steal photos of from the Internet.

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  7. It will make little difference what anyone on the outside thinks or writes; Such has been going on for decades without impact. Might as well be spitting in the wind. Teflon Thailand.

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  8. aah - the trotting out of the tried and proven phrases - "Little difference what anyone on the outside thinks or writes" - "Might as well be spitting in the wind" - "Teflon Thailand". The kind of phrases you can hear from the old age pensioners and misfits sitting on the benches in Pattaya. The phrases that don't require a lot of thought. You only need to look at the Middle East during the past few years to see the impact of technology, especially the internet. I'm sure that a lot of the Middle Eastern leaders shared the same view that nothing would ever change (smile). As we move toward the global economy the more difficult it will be for countries like Thailand to live in a self contained bubble. There are many emerging South Eastern Asian countries that would be more than glad to relieve Thailand of their current prosperity by providing a better judicial system to do business.

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  9. If the Internet & social media doesn't make any difference, then why do certain authorities heavily censor and monitor it?

    If Internet forums have no impact, then why are websites like Tripadvisor so successful?

    Anyone that believes that the Internet & social media cannot influence change is out of touch, and I ask them this, if they believe it to be true, why are they on an Internet Forum in the first place?

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