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Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison: human trafficking is expanding

Aussies Learn of Human Trafficking Persecution of Journalists in Thailand

Thursday, October 16, 2014
PHUKET: Two Phuketwan journalists facing criminal defamation charges in Thailand were able to pass on the story behind their persecution by the Royal Thai Navy to an audience in Melbourne, Australia, at the weekend.

A video interview with Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison was played during the annual New News seminar at the Wheeler Centre, in the central city district.

Reporting for thecitizen.org.au, Thara Vidyaratne wrote that Morison and Sidasthian could face seven years in a Thai prison after being charged with criminal defamation of the Thai Navy over an article they published on Phuketwan.

''The story included a paragraph quoting a Reuters report on the persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority to which Thai authorities took exception,'' Vidyaratne wrote.

''Meanwhile, the newsagency's reporting of the issue would ultimately win a Pulitzer prize.''

Morison and Sidasthian remain angry about the lack of support they have received from Reuters, who had co-opted them for some of its reporting.

''Reuters have done nothing,'' Morison told New News.

He recalled the five hours he spent in prison ''packed in like sardines'' alongside 90 other inmates, standing next to a man who had murdered his wife, despite Morison's only crime having been to try and serve the best interests of the public by telling the truth, Vidyaratne wrote.

He said it ''would be great to have support from Australians and any NGOs from around the world''.

The seminar was moderated by Margaret Simons, Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.

Juris and Lois Greste, parents of the imprisoned Australian journalist Peter Greste, told the audience that their son, serving seven years in Egypt on a trumped up charge, is finding solace in meditation, gardening and learning to speak Arabic.

Morison and Khun Chutima are continuing to report on Thailand's treatment of arriving boatpeople, which now includes men and boys who say they have been kidnapped in Bangladesh.

The new arrivals in Thailand are thought to have been destined for slavery on fishing trawlers or in factories.

''Human trafficking in Thailand is expanding, not contracting,'' Morison said.

The country was relegated to Tier 3, the lowest level, in the US State Department's latest Trafficking in Persons report.

''There has been a lot of pretence that trafficking is being controlled but no real action,'' Morison added.

''Anyone who visits the Andaman coast can find an industry still flourishing and being covered up, unsuccessfully.''

Staying sane in a Cairo jail: Peter Greste keeps himself busy
http://www.thecitizen.org.au/media/staying-sane-cairo-jail-peter-greste-keeps-himself-busy

Comments

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Keep getting attention. Keep looking for help. No Thai govermentioned can cover this under the carpet. You would not expect this from a Prime Minister to let such a scandal develop in his country. Only when you have full control over the media an can isolate your country and block all social media you can get away with such matters. This can't of control freaks can only survive in dictatorships.

I believe Thailand left this episode of control long time ago and I hope it will never return. For sure i never expected dictatorship will return to Thailand

Posted by phuketgreed on October 16, 2014 12:14

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Alan, at least you're not in Myanmar after today's decision to jail 5 journo's for 2 years. It's become a dangerous profession over the last few years.

Posted by Manowar on October 16, 2014 19:31

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"For sure i never expected dictatorship will return to Thailand"

And in the blink of an eye, on May 22, it did! A Quasi-Dictatorship at the least.

Yet it's probably a lot better than the looming bloodbath that was allegedly coming - but this so-called dictatorship still leaves a lot to be desired in the human rights arena, and the media rights transparency area.

"When will they ever learn" - are still good lyrics for these times.

Posted by farang888 on October 16, 2014 21:50

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Will the large australian broadcasters not carry your story to get it more into the public eye and maybe make it a higher priority for your PM or the opisition parties

Posted by Scunner on October 16, 2014 22:58


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