Suit against BioThai thrown out

Suit against BioThai thrown out

Witoon: Thanks EnLAW for support
Witoon: Thanks EnLAW for support

The Criminal Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition against Witoon Lienchamroon, founder of BioThai, over accusations he defamed someone under the Computer Act in a debate over farm chemical bans in 2019.

BioThai is an anti-farm chemical pressure group that argues for bans on the use of herbicides paraquat and glyphosate, and the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

The accusation came after the Weed Science Society of Thailand said on Facebook it opposed the government's decision to ban the use of the less toxic glyphosate, which was classified as a blue band label, and offered to use glufosinate, moderately toxic with a yellow band label instead.

Afterwards, BioThai said it opposed the association's stance, putting a cross mark over a picture of its post on Facebook. It stood by the decision to ban glyphosate. However, BioThai attributed a yellow label to paraquat instead of glufosinate.

On Dec 2, 2019, association president Chanya Meneechote filed a complaint with Bang Khen police saying Mr Witoon was disseminating false information to the public.

Ms Chanya said the association didn't mention paraquat, which may lead to a misunderstanding.

After the court's hearing, Mr Witoon's lawyer Rassada Manurassada said the court ruled BioThai's message was couched in academic terms and was not considered false information under the Computer Act.

"This case might be of benefit to academics, who are studying the impact of chemical use on the environment. They must be granted protection for this," said Mr Witoon.

Mr Witoon conveyed his thanks to EnLAW, a non-governmental organisation promoting environmental rights, for their support.

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