A mining company filed defamation charges against the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and its employees seeking 50 million Thai Baht (USD 1.4 million) in compensation and the revocation of its broadcasting license for five years. Tungkum Ltd. alleged that the news clip, which aired on 1 September 2015, on the company’s open-pit copper-gold mine operation in Loei Province in northeast Thailand damaged its reputation and credibility.
Citing the Thai Criminal Code and the Computer Crimes Act, Tungkum Ltd. filed the criminal charges against the Thai PBS, then-Director-General of Thai PBS Mr. Somchai Suwanbun, Director of the News Department at Thai PBS Mr. Korkhet Chantalertluk, Director of the Television and Radio Department at Thai PBS Mr. Yothin Sitthibodeekul, and journalist Ms. Wirada Saelim last 12 November 2015. There is a preliminary hearing on the merits of the charges scheduled on 12 March 2016 at the Bangkok Criminal Court.
“Thai PBS carried out its duties to report news and provide a platform for public discourse,” said Amy Smith, executive director of the non-profit organization Fortify Rights. “These charges not only offend the right to freedom of expression, but also seek to deprive the Thai people of a vital media service,” she added.
For more information, please read the report “Thailand: Drop Defamation Cases Against Schoolgirl, Journalists, Villagers | De-criminalize defamation; protect human rights defenders and press.”