Royal Thai Navy to Sue Reuters for Defamation
ROYAL THAI NAVY TO SUE REUTERS FOR DEFAMATION –If you don’t live in Thailand or know little about it then this article might appear irrelevant.
However regardless to where you live in the world you should take an interest for what is unfolding is not just about the suppression of democracy it is about the oppression of an ethnic minority, the Myanmar (formerly Burma) Rohingya and how Thai officials are being accused of engaging in human trafficking which often results in young children being sold into prostitution.
Earlier this month we published an article on a small but critically important Thai based news website, PhuketWan.com.
It’s proprietor, Australian journalist Alan Morrison and his partner Chutima Sidasathian, some months ago published an article on the ongoing issues of human rights abuses levelled on the Rohingya by the Thai Authorities, namely the Royal Thai Navy and within the article quoted Reuters; which recently wrote a Pulitzer Prize Winning article on the situation.
In response to the article, and in particular the Reuters quote, the Royal Thai Navy issued a writ of defamation under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act against PhuketWan, Alan Morrison and his partner Chutima Sidasathian.
Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act is a rather menacing piece of legislation, along with its Lese Majeste laws, which are frequently being used by those in power to silence their opponents.
Effectively each has the ability to destroy democracy and this come at a time when the Thai people continue to demonstrate on the streets of Bangkok for democracy… at meebal.com we wonder if any of them can actually spell the word let alone understand its true meaning.
Thailand’s political and social problems mainly stem from the issue of corruption; it is wholly corrupt and where punishment for any crime, including murder, is often averted through the payment of large sums of money to the right corrupt officials.
It has long been suspected that the Royal Thai Navy on the tourist island of Phuket have engaged in human rights abuses of the Rohingya and indeed engaging in human trafficking; it is of course an accusation they deny but they also denied the Government’s covert policies in 2008 of hunting down Rohingya refugee boats, disabling their engines and casting them adrift to a fate almost certain of death.
Yes, the Thai Government and the Royal Thai Navy vehemently denied such allegations; that is of course until they were caught in the act and then the whole dirty affair of what amounted to mass murder by the Royal Thai Navy, under the direct orders from the Government, were revealed.
Alan Morrison and Chutima Sidasathian were hoping that the Royal Thai Navy would see sense and drop the defamation charge for ultimately it will damage the reputation of the Royal Thai Navy and Thailand as a whole.
Regardless of worldwide condemnation of the charges by Governments, Press Organisations and Human Rights Groups the Royal Thai Navy decided to move forward with the prosecution and on April 17 both Alan Morrison and Chutima Sidasathian were held in a prison cell on Phuket for some 5 hours whilst the prosecutions paperwork was being filed.
It is the intention of the Phuket Prosecutors Office to prosecute both Alan Morrison and Chutima Sidasathian under the full force of the law which could result in up to 7 years imprisonment and or a 100,000 Thai Baht (approximately $3,200) fine.
Both Alan Morrison and Chutima Sidasathian have stated that they will not apply for bail and they will not pay any fines; there is now a very real possibility that both will go to prison for the crime of effectively uncovering the Royal Thai Navy’s possible involvement in human trafficking.
Thailand is currently suffering from a downturn in economic growth; this is being blamed on by the ongoing protests in Bangkok. Certainly foreign investors are wary that the political issues are causing instability in the democratic process and in the light of the ongoing events many investors are either putting off investment or indeed pulling out.
Tourism is also another big earner but this too has seen a downturn due to the problems in Bangkok, but that’s only part of the problem.
It appears that the Thais haven’t yet fully grasped the idea that information flows around the internet in mere milliseconds and with the ongoing tourism scams and violence perpetrated against them the word is getting out to avoid Thailand as a holiday destination.
Yesterday the Royal Thai Navy took the situation further by stating that they now intend to file criminal charges of defamation against Reuters for their Pulitzer Prize Winning article.
The word of the forum is that this is a ridiculous move and will only further damage the reputation of the Royal Thai Navy and Thailand as a whole.
There is no doubt that this will make Thailand appear to be attempting to cover up more human rights abuses but in our view the move is actually an extremely good one for worldwide attention is now growing and vast numbers of people around the world are going to pay witness to the plight of the Rohingya, the abuses they suffer from Thai human traffickers..
We cannot and should not allow anyone or any country to profit from the misery and misfortune of others and it’s time people stopped talking about insisting their Governments taking action for we know that Government’s are wholly ineffective at tackling such an issue.
The onus must be on the people taking action. At meebal.com we believe everyone can make a difference but only on a democratic front; that is action must never be violent but rather passive but trust us when we say passive action is the most effective form of action anyone can take.
By passive we mean merely exercising your democratic right to abstain; in this instance you should abstain from visiting Thailand or buy any products that it produces.
Money is of course the driving force in all situations and once you remove their ability to generate revenue you effectively send a clear and unequivocal message that their actions are wholly unacceptable to the international community.
In our view let the Royal Thai Navy sue Reuters for it will only further uncover the atrocities that are being perpetrated.
If however the Royal Thai Navy has nothing to hide then it should drop the charges and work with journalists to uncover those who are responsible.