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Outside Phuket's Provincial Court onn the day of the judge's verdict

Acquittal of Phuketwan Journalists Small Step in the Right Direction

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
THE acquittal of two journalists in Thailand - on trial for reproducing parts of an article on human trafficking - is a welcome move for freedom of expression, but the two should never have had to stand trial in the first place, Amnesty International said.

The online news outlet Phuketwan's editor Alan Morison and reporter Chutima Sidasathian were today found not guilty of criminal defamation and for violating a provision of the Computer Crime Act.

The measure penalises importing forged or false digital information in a manner likely to cause harm to a third party or the public.

The charges - brought following a complaint by the Thai Royal Navy - stem from one paragraph copied from a Pulitzer Prize-winning article by Reuters, that examined Thailand's role in the trafficking of Rohingya migrants, published in 2013.

''The acquittal of these two journalists is a positive decision, but the fact is that they should never have had to stand trial in the first place let alone face the possibility of years in jail.

''The Thai authorities have again shown their disregard for freedom of expression by pursuing this case,'' said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International's South East Asia Campaigns Director.

''Vaguely worded provisions of the Computer Crime Act are being misused as a tool to silence and harass independent media. This law contains provisions which violate human rights and should be repealed or amended immediately to comply with Thailand???s obligations under international law.

''This is just the latest in a long line of attacks on freedom of expression and media outlets since the military seized power in 2014. Thailand's authorities must stop paying lip service to human rights - unlawful restrictions on freedom of expression must be lifted immediately, including criminal charges and sentences against the growing numbers of prisoners of conscience.''

Comments

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Alan has his distractors because he doesn't take crap from a small minority of Phuketwan readers who like to taunt the Editor, in a vain effort to boost their flagging ego, low self-esteem and small minded agenda.

Most of these hapless farang can't find candy in the biggest candy store in the world - hence their bitterness. And they just lost again.

Alan's a lot tougher than he looks. Just ask the Royal Thai Navy, or Reuters, as they cower behind a Pulitzer Prize that should be handed over to Alan and Chutima.

After all, she did a lot (read most) of the the groundwork as a fixer for their award winning journalism on the plight of the marginalised Rohingya.

Nice guys (and gals) don't always finish last.

Posted by farang888 on September 2, 2015 05:53

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Great news! Here's hoping you can bring some change to the laws that allowed this ridiculousness in the first place.

Posted by american on September 2, 2015 06:01


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