Thailand: Tungkum mining company's defamation charges against minor, journalists & other community members infringe on freedom of expression & must be dropped - human rights group

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Article
21 November 2016

Thai court dismisses defamation charge brought by Tungkum against PBS over a report on the mining company's environmental impacts

Author: AFP, Channel News Asia

“Thai court scraps mine defamation case in rare media win”, 16 Nov 2016

A Thai court…threw out defamation charges against a news agency for alleging environmental damage by a gold mine, a lawyer said, in a rare win for press freedom in the country.

Criminal defamation is a go-to weapon for powerful business and political players in Thailand, where activists, journalists and online critics are routinely swept up in court cases that often end in jail time.

The gold mine in northeastern Loei province has been the centre of a decade-long struggle between its Thai operator, Tungkum Ltd., and grassroots activists who say the mine has polluted the environment and harmed their health.

The company has filed more than a dozen lawsuits, including a criminal defamation case against state-funded broadcaster Thai PBS over a news clip produced by a 15-year-old girl who lives near the mine...

Judges decided to exonerate the network because it reported "comments based on good faith", [Thai PBS's lawyer Saengchai Rattanasereewong] said in an interview aired on Thai PBS...

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Article
13 February 2016

Mining firm under fire over lawsuits

Author: Achara Ashayagachat, Bangkok Post

A rights group is calling for a gold mining corporation in Loei to drop defamation cases lodged against several parties that include a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

The cases were lodged after she alleged in a news report aired by Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) that the firm’s activities were adversely affecting local communities…

Tungkum has also filed a separate civil defamation suit against six villagers for erecting signs protesting against a controversial mine in their community…

“These cases typify the egregious use of criminal defamation in Thailand to silence critics and human rights defenders,” said Amy Smith, executive director of Southeast Asia-based Fortify Rights…

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Article
12 February 2016

Thailand: Drop Defamation Cases Against Schoolgirl, Journalists, Villagers

Thailand authorities and a Thai-owned gold-mining company should immediately drop criminal defamation complaints filed against a 15-year-old schoolgirl as well as the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and four individuals employed and previously employed by Thai PBS, Fortify Rights said..The company should also drop a civil defamation suit filed against six villagers for erecting signs regarding the mine in their community…

These defamation charges and complaints infringe on the right to freedom of expression in Thailand, Fortify Rights said…

Between 2007 and 2015, Tungkum Ltd. has brought at least 19 criminal and civil lawsuits against 33 members of the KRBKG (Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group)…

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