EU Statement on the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand

Thai press, the Nation, reports that there are about 4,000 cases filed with the Thai police, by ordinarty Thais, under Thailand’s lese majeste law. Things have gotten so ridiculous, an academic/writer was charged with lese majeste, for questioning, the historical acuracy, of an ancient, Thai King, elephant back battle.

Local EU Statement on the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand (source)

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Thailand

 Bangkok, 14 November 2014 – The EU is committed to promoting and protecting the freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. The EU Delegation wishes to express its concern over the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand. The EU believes that defamation laws should not be misused to censor criticism and debate concerning public issues as this constitutes a serious threat to Freedom of Expression. Recent cases brought against Human Rights Defender Andy Hall, journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian from the “Phuketwan” newspaper, and the freelance journalist Andrew Drummond, have served to demonstrate how criminal defamation laws are vexatiously used to silence freedom of expression and investigative journalism in the country. The EU would like to appeal to State authorities to fully abide by their international obligations. As part of wider reform in Thailand, we urge the National Reform Council to address this issue, so that criminal defamation laws cannot in the future be used as a means of silencing legitimate analysis or debate.

Wiki:

Criminal libel is a legal term, of English origin, which may be used with one of two distinct meanings, in those common law jurisdictions where it is still used.

It is an alternative name for the common law offence which is also known (in order to distinguish it from other offences of libel) as “defamatory libel[1] or, occasionally, as “criminal defamatory libel”.[2][3]

It is also used as a collective term for all offences which consist of the publication of some prohibited matter in a libel (in permanent form), namely defamatory libel, seditious libel,blasphemous libel and obscene libel.[4][5]

The common law offences of seditious libel, defamatory libel, and obscene libel were abolished in the England and Wales and Northern Ireland on 12 January 2010 when section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into force,[6] blasphemous libel having already been abolished in England and Wales on 8 July 2008 by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, having been replaced with the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

Defamatory libel was originally an offence under the common law of England. It has been abolished in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. It was or is a form of criminal libel, a term with which it is synonymous.[1]

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