Decriminalise defamation

Decriminalise defamation

British migrant rights defender Andy Hall speaks to the media at the Bangkok South Criminal Court in September, 2016, after a verdict in one of his cases involving the Natural Fruit Company Ltd. (AFP file photo)
British migrant rights defender Andy Hall speaks to the media at the Bangkok South Criminal Court in September, 2016, after a verdict in one of his cases involving the Natural Fruit Company Ltd. (AFP file photo)

Following the Appeal Court's ruling last week quashing defamation charges against British human rights defender Andy Hall, activists who hailed this as a legal victory have made another call for the government to repeal the criminal defamation law.

However, it comes as no surprise that this call seems to have fallen on deaf ears within the military regime and its lawmakers who instead are inclined to broaden criminalisation against civil acts when it comes to their lawmaking and law enforcement.

The criminal case brought against Mr Hall, for his statements and publishing of reports on alleged human rights abuses at a fruit packaging company, reminds us of the chilling effect the Thai defamation law can have on freedom of speech.

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