Criminal Court dismisses mining company’s defamation case against Thai PBS

The Criminal Court dismissed a gold mining company’s defamation case against the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on 16 November 2016.

The charges were filed under Section 328 of the Penal Code (defamation accusation) and Section 14 of the Computer-Related Crime Act (false information accusation).

The court stated that the Thai PBS only exercised its duty of reporting the news. It was not false information because previously government agencies conducted environmental tests in the area and found heavy metal contamination in the river. According to the ruling, it is the role of the media to investigate issues that affect a community’s quality of life and environment. The court concluded that the report was done in good faith and involved public interest.

The Thai PBS aired the program, which was produced by a 15-year-old citizen reporter and her team, on 1 September 2015. The company filed several lawsuits against the community including the citizen reporter. Following child protection laws, the Loei Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre decided against the gold mining company’s filing of the lawsuit.