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Journalist Chutima Sidasathian with Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud

Phuket Governor Asked to Advise Navy to Drop Criminal Defamation Action

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
PHUKET: A Phuket journalist facing five years in jail presented Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud with a plea for logic to prevail when the governor met with the region's Royal Thai Navy representatives today.

If the Navy does not withdraw its action for criminal defamation, Phuketwan journalists Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison are likely to choose in principle to go to jail rather than seek bail when they face court as early as next month.

The Committee to Develop Regional Stability, Thai Royal Navy 3 Area, meets in Andaman provinces in rotation every three months. About 25 representatives gathered today at the Royal Phuket City Hotel.

The governor is the chairman of the Internal Security Operations Command on Phuket. He said the stability committee was concerned about the ''transfer of humans, the transfer of goods and the transfer of news.''

He said committee members should always consider morals and human rights. A key consideration was ''safety and security for everybody.''

He urged Navy officers to always let him know first before commencing new undertakings.

During a break in proceedings, Chutima Sidasathian presented the governor with a snapshot summary of the case and some samples of the widespread international criticism of the Navy for using criminal defamation and the onerous Computer Crimes Act for the first time.

A covering letter from Alan Morison read as follows:

Dear Governor Maitree,
The recent use by the Royal Thai Navy of criminal defamation and the Computer Crimes Act to sue journalists from Phuketwan and Reuters news agency has brought widespread international condemnation. As much as we admire the Royal Thai Navy, we cannot accept this action as being the right thing to do. If the Navy has a problem with the media, it's possible for officers to make a telephone call or issue a press release, or hold a media conference. This would be a normal, proper reaction. By defending the reputation of the Navy instead of defending and upholding the truth, the Navy will completely destroy its reputation in the eyes of the world if it does not withdraw this foolish law suit.

Alan Morison
Editor
Phuketwan.com

The two journalists were told by police yesterday that they are likely to have to appear in court early in January. A similar case against two Reuters journalists, authors of the one single paragraph cited in the action, is proceeding more slowly.

Khun Chutima is due to give a speech tomorrow at a ''Freedom of the Media'' seminar at the Thai Journalists' Association office in Bangkok. Academics, lawyers, media rights representatives and human rights advocates will be attending.

If the Navy proceeds with the action, street protests are planned for the Thai Consulate in Melbourne, Australia, where Mr Morison once lived, and outside the Royal Thai Navy Base on Phuket's Cape Panwa.

Present at today's stability committee meeting were:

Phuket
Maitree Inthusud, Phuket governor
Captain Kritsada Rattanasupa, from Phuket ISOC
Arun Singsutthi, from DDPM Phuket
Captain Panlop Komlotok, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Phuket

Krabi
Supatcharapong Worrapradit, from DDMP Krabi
Satjaporn Jansrinuan, Or Bor Jor Krabi
Captain Pratchaya Poyoy, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Krabi

Trang
Satorn Naravisut, Trang vice governor
Commander Narong Ornpakdi, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Trang

Phang Nga
Captain Kanokpon Pimtong, from ISOC Phang Nga
Taratip Tongjerm, from Or Bor Jor Phnag Nga
Lieutenant Commander Apichat Nimnet, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Phang Nga
Petty Officer First Class Wuttisak Kaewsawi, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Phang Nga

Ranong
Surin Damkam, from DDPM Ranong
Commander Kampanat Sangtongjeen, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Ranong

Satun
Samat Suwannamanee, form DDPM Satun
Commander Rewat Tabsang, from Committee of Integrative Provincial Administration Satun
Rosi Baikatem, Or Bor Jor Satun

Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (Southern Region)
Yuttana Wongsanupat, special plan and policy analyst

Office of the Nation Security Council
Montip Wongkulruedee, plan and policy analyst

ISOC
Captain Choochar Towprayoon

Armed Forces Development Command
Lieutenant Colonal Kanchat Petjan

Personal Division of 4th Army Area
Major General Srisak Lertlam

Personal Division of 1st Army Area
Captain Krit Kluabmas

Personal Division of 2nd Army Area
Commander Prajak Jenthaisong

Phang Nga Naval Base
Captain Somchai Tannin

Naval Operations Department
Commander Warodom Jiansakul

For information about the ''Freedom of the Media'' seminar, e: thipvimon@gmail.com or telephone 085 0440234.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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We would like to ask both Puhketwan Editors and Royal Thai Navy to present statement regarding trafficking scandal of Rohingyas and news media services in this regards. The public should have full rights to access the present development. As an Rohingya activist ,I would like to see heavy punishment of traffickers and protecting the Rohingyas in their own country. I have been very upset since Puketwan editors are facing human law suit.Every freedom loving people should voice out for freedom of press and guarding dignity of journalists.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on December 25, 2013 17:47

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Inhuman law suit against journalists Alan and Chutima must be dropped !This is our call and international demands. Thailand will face worldwide protection ,if they fail to respect media freedom and drop two respectable journalists from the case. The respectable civil society of Thailand must voice out for freedom of these two journalists. We also wish to keep Royal Thai Navy reputation. We do hope today FREDOM FOR MEDIA SEMINAR OF BANGKOK will translate the issue .

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on December 26, 2013 05:03

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The Navy must do the right thing.... side with justice! Or else its reputation will be hurt much more.

This seems clear to me.

Posted by J on December 27, 2013 00:33

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Has anyone else noticed that though we have worldwide condemnation on the Navy's attempt to control freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, by pressing defamation and computer crimes charges, against Alan and Chutima, that the silence from other local news media is deafening. Why is this so? The world is focusing on Phuket/Thailand and these local media totally ignore it. Perhaps, and it is only my opinion, they do not have the "balls," ok, for the delicate people intestinal fortitude, to stand beside their journalist colleagues.

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 28, 2013 11:09

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@ Laurie -- I hope that you and other concerned readers are sending letters to the editors to ask them directly why this is so. I certainly have - and have received no replies thus far. I find it very troubling indeed.

Posted by Lana on December 28, 2013 13:00

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Lana, yes, I have sent messages to the other media, but the response is the same as what you are getting...absolutely nothing, although one did publish one of my comments but no comment from the editor. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Laurie Howells on December 28, 2013 13:16

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For them it is a business vehicle. Would be stupid to do. The media outlets are just the door opener for the real stuff. So would be crazy to throw that away for two real journalists.

Posted by Lena on December 28, 2013 16:27


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