Thai journalist arrested and charged with defamation

Voice TV host has been charged with defamation following the channel’s broadcast of the general election on March 24. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly criticized the charges against the TV host and called for the charges to be dropped immediately.

Sirote and Nuttaa during the Voice TV general election broadcast.

According to Prachatai Voice TV host Sirote Klampaiboon had defamation charges filed against him, and activist Nuttaa Mahattana. It is reported that the charges relate to the Voice TV broadcast on March 24, during the general elections. On April 5, Sirote wrote on his Facebook that he had been summoned on defamation charges filed by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). On the same day Nuttaa was summoned to report to the Thung Song Hong Police station by April 11.

In his Facebook post, Sirote wrote: “If this is because of my job as a TV host, my job is to invite guests to express their opinion, so I don’t understand why that’s wrong. But by principle, I think it’s not appropriate for the ECT, as a government agency, to be filing charges against citizens, especially not a charge that could result in a 2-year prison term, regardless of who is being sued.”

The National Union of Journalists, Thailand are investigating the case.

The IFJ said: “Defamation threats and charges have become a tool of the Thai authorities to silence critical voices. We urge the government to take strong action to end to crack down on media freedom, and end the use of tools to intimidation media.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram