FCCT event tonight : Silencing Media Coverage of Migrants: The Wider Repercussions in Thailand
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FCCT event tonight : Silencing Media Coverage of Migrants: The Wider Repercussions in Thailand

This is a little late as thought that the event would be on Wednesday, but it is actually tonight. The blurb is below:

Silencing Media Coverage of Migrants: The Wider Repercussions in Thailand

A Panel Discussion

7 pm, Monday September 1, 2014
Members: Free; Non-members: 350 baht; A la carte menu offered

Thailand has seen several contentious criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act cases filed against activists, researchers and journalists this past year. Criminal defamation is commonly used in Thailand. Those accused spend years fighting prosecutions in criminal and civil courts.

Two of the most recent and high profile cases are against migrant rights activist and researcher Andy Hall and the Phuketwan online journal’s two reporters Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian. Both prosecutions concern undercover research or reporting on the plight of migrants in Thailand.

On the night before Andy Hall’s criminal trial, the FCCT brings together a panel of speakers to discuss the wider repercussions from these cases for activists, researchers and journalists covering migrants in Thailand.

Nakhon Chompuchat – Lawyer, Head of Andy Hall’s legal team
Chutima Sidasathian – Reporter, Phuketwan
Supinya Klangnarong – NBTC commissioner/media rights activist
Surapong Kongchantuk – Human Rights Committee, Lawyers Council of Thailand.

BP: BP has written about Andy Hall’s case here (fellow AC blogger Casey has posts on Andy’s case here and here in the past month) His trial beigns tomorrow. AFP:

A BRITISH activist will go on trial tomorrow in Bangkok for defamation, facing a possible jail term after his investigation into alleged labour abuses in the food industry.

Andy Hall faces civil and criminal lawsuits submitted by local fruit processor Natural Fruit, a major supplier to the European drink market, in response to accusations of forced and child labour, unlawfully low wages and long hours.

Hall, who made the allegations in a report last year for Finnish rights watchdog Finnwatch, is due in court on a defamation charge linked to an interview he gave to the Al Jazeera television network about the case.

If convicted in this first trial he could face one year in prison. More serious charges under the computer crime act – which carries up to seven years in jail for each count – are due to be heard later this month.

Hall denounced the charges as “judicial harassment”, saying he wanted his case to raise awareness of the “widespread and systematic” exploitation of migrants in Thailand.

BP: If you read through BP’s post, it seems remarkable that this case has proceeded so far given the quality of the report (we are not talking about spurious accusations made maliciously and without any research). Migrant workers face numerous problems in Thailand with abuse from employers and state officials. If Andy loses his case, it will place any researcher and those investigating cases of abuse in a very difficult position. If your research is not published then well no one knows of the abuse. If it is published then you face an expensive lawsuit. It is really a David vs Goliath battle yet the cards are stacked against the “David” in this case because of how criminal defamation works in Thailand. We are seeing increasing number of cases from Phuketwan and the case of Pornpen Khongkachonkiet (as blogged about last week). It is a very worrying trend.