A judge in the criminal court in Phuket found no basis for the charges against Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, the two founders of the Phuketwan news website.
The charges were filed in December 2013, over an article published six months earlier by Phuketwan, which included a 41-word paragraph from a Reuters investigation referring to the role of Thai naval forces in human trafficking.
Phuketwan did not retract or apologise for their article, but they did offer the Navy the opportunity to put its case on Phuketwan. The Navy declined the offer.
The FCCT condemns the use of the Criminal Defamation and Computer Crimes Laws against journalists for their reporting, when other remedies for redress are available through civil legal action.
Journalists should not be at risk of long prison sentences for what they report. We commend the court in Phuket for this encouraging verdict, which we hope will discourage others in positions of authority from using these laws against journalists writing critically.
We also urge the Royal Thai Navy to end this unwarranted case now by not appealing against the verdict.
It has only served to damage the navy's reputation, and disrupt the lives of two journalists whose only crime was to try to expose the illegal exploitation of migrants in Thailand.