UPDATE (Thailand): Final verdict to be given in trial of media campaigner Supinya 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-044-2006
ISSUES: Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders,

[RE: UA-73-2004: THAILAND: Human rights defender faces preliminary decision in libel case on 21 June 2004 and UP-31 2004: THAILAND: Criminal Court decides to let libel suit against Ms Supinya Klangnarong proceed on 29 June 2004; UP-62-2004: THAILAND: Update on libel suit against media-reform activist Ms Supinya; UP-31-2005: THAILAND: Media reform campaigner Supinya holds fund-raising event to fight criminal libel case; UP-111-2005: THAILAND: Final witnesses for defence to speak in trial of media campaigner Supinya]
UP-044-2006: THAILAND: Final verdict to be given in trial of media campaigner Supinya

THAILAND: Criminal defamation; denial of freedom of speech; threats to human rights defenders

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you of the final court decision to be made in the trial of media reform campaigner Ms Supinya Klangnarong and the Thai Post newspaper. As the AHRC has informed earlier, Supinya and the newspaper are being sued by communications giant Shin Corp because of comments made in the public interest in 2003. Shin Corp is the family company of the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr Thaksin Shinawatra.

The final court decision is to be held on Wednesday 15 March 2006 at 1pm. It will be held in the Bangkok Criminal Court and is expected to be on the eighth floor.

The AHRC urges all persons concerned with freedom of expression in Thailand and its implications for the enjoyment of all other human rights in the country to attend the final trial hearing as observers.

Contact CPMR by phone: (66)-2-6910437 to 9; (66)-2-6910574; or (66)-6-7360969
Or email: freemediafreepeople@yahoo.com


See: UA-73-2004UP-31-2004UP-62-2004UP-31-2005 & UA-111-2005.

In further news concerning the media in Thailand, the AHRC has come to learn of Thailand’s Public Relations Department closure of 60 community radio stations. The stations, many of which served local ethnic Shan, Akha and Laju communities, were closed for broadcasting at a frequency that exceeded national regulations. Station producers protested the closure order to the province’s deputy governor, Worrachai Uttamachai, who later authorised the stations to reopen, provided they adhere strictly to government regulations, which only allow broadcasts under 30 watts transmitted within a 15km radius, and that do not interfere with government or aeronautical broadcasts.


The television and radio media in Thailand have been under a government and military monopoly since their introduction to the country. Although the 1997 Constitution set in place provisions for the democratisation of these media under article 40, these have not been realised. In recent times, community radio stations have increasingly been targeted on the ground that they are “illegal”. In fact it is the government itself that has failed to introduce a licensing regime in accordance with the new constitution, by default making the stations illegal.

The sister organisation of the AHRC, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, has expressed its concerns regarding growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Thailand–in particular, actions against the burgeoning community radio movement–to the UN Human Rights Committee (see the section on Freedom of Expression in the “Institutionalized torture, extrajudicial killings & uneven application of law in Thailand” report, March 2005). In its concluding observations after its examination of Thailand’s human rights record in July 2005, the Committee expressed concern at “reports of intimidation and harassment against local and foreign journalists and media personnel as well as of defamation suits against them, originating at the highest political level” [CCPR/CO/84/THA, 28 July 2005, para. 18]. International media group Reporters without Borders has also said that media conditions in Thailand are worsening, and ranked the country as 107 out of 167 countries assessed for their media freedom in 2005.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-044-2006
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders,