The investigating police officer, Colonel Sanit Nookong, said today that the journalists were likely to be given a day's notice next week of a requirement to appear at Phuket Provincial Court.
Phuketwan editor Alan Morison and reporter Chutima Sidasathian have been charged with criminal defamation and a second count under Thailand's contentious Computer Crimes Act. They face a maximum penalty of seven years in jail plus a fine of 100,000 baht.
Captain Panlob Komtonlok, who says he is acting on behalf of the Royal Thai Navy, lodged complaints at Phuket's Vichit Police Station on July 17 last year against the Phuketwan journalists and two journalists who work for the international news agency, Reuters.
His claims concerned a single paragraph from a special report about Rohingya boatpeople published earlier that day by Reuters and republished word-for-word in Phuketwan. The paragraph does not mention Captain Panlob or the Royal Thai Navy.
It's believed to be the first time that the military has used Thailand's harsh defamation laws to sue the media. The action has provoked criticism from the UN human rights spokesperson and media rights advocates around the world.
Morison said it was shameful that the Royal Thai Navy was pursuing a criminal prosecution when in any real democracy, a military officer who felt aggrieved would simply telephone the journalists involved or organise a media conference to explain the issue.
''This is an abuse of military power and it is aimed directly at the freedom of the media in Thailand,'' Morison said today. ''If the prosecutor requests that we must provide bail next week, we intend to go straight to jail in protest.
''Laws like these shouldn't be a part of modern democracy. When a good organisation like the Royal Thai Navy makes use of bad laws, you know that the true values of democracy are not understood or being properly applied.''
Phuketwan is a small Phuket-based news outlet that has won international praise and awards for its coverage of the Rohingya exodus from Burma. If Morison and Khun Chutima go to jail, Phuketwan will be forced to cease publication.
''I feel sorry for the Navy because this court action will inevitably trigger universal condemnation,'' Morison said. ''I expect there will be protests in Thailand especially.''
The case against Morison and Khun Chutima (complaint No. 489/2556) is being pursued but the Bangkok street uprising has delayed the processing of the case against Reuters and the two journalists who wrote the paragraph (complaint No. 490/2556).
Thomson Reuters describes itself as world's largest international multimedia news agency. A former bureau chief says it employs more than 1000 staff in Thailand.