Australian Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian of Phuketwan yesterday delivered letters to the office of Thailand's Prime Minister and the Commander in Chief of the Navy, expressing ''deep regret'' about what had transpired.
The letters suggested that the case against them should be settled to enable Thailand to fully concentrate on the real issue: human trafficking.
''Republishing a Reuters news agency paragraph is not a crime,'' Morison said today. ''Human trafficking is the crime.''
The contentious 41-word Reuters paragraph - from a series that later won a Pulitzer Prize - was republished word for word by Phuketwan in July, 2013.
Poor translation into the Thai language led to charges under the Computer Crimes Act and criminal defamation being laid against Morison and Khun Chutima yet Reuters and other news outlets that published the same paragraph have not been charged.
''We believe the government of Thailand is now as concerned as we are about achieving truth and justice, not misplaced revenge,'' Morison said today.
''The charges against Phuketwan date back to a different era. We believe this government has moved Thailand on since it took charge and can now see clearly what the real issues are.''
Morison said he and Khun Chutima did not wish the case against them to complicate or confuse a potential solution to ending the suffering and brutality of human trafficking throughout the region.
''Phuketwan has been reporting since 2008 about the Rohingya,'' Morison said. ''Now the rest of the world can see what's been happening.
''A good relationship between the military and the media is essential to any future democracy.''
The journalists are hoping to hear that the case has been dropped before June 1. Their trial, with a maximum penalty of seven years in jail, is scheduled to begin hearing witnesses from July 14.
Most legal costs for the journalists are being met by the London-based Media Legal Defence Initiative. A group of more than 10 lawyers have teamed up in Thailand to provide legal counsel. They include the Human Rights Lawyers' Association, iLaw and SR Law. The Andaman Community Rights and Legal Aid Centre is funding bail.