Shin Corp Uses Delay Tactics in Thai Freedom of Expression Trial

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has accused Shin Corporation's legal team of delay tactics by postponing the expert witness testimony of Toby Mendel, law program director of Article 19.

Mendel's testimony, originally scheduled for 1:30pm on Thursday August 18, was deferred over questions of the neutrality of the interpreter in the trial brought by Shin Corp against media reform activist Supinya Klangnarong.

Mendel's testimony will be postponed to Friday August 19 when Sheila Coronel, executive director of the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism and Ramon Magsaysay award-winning journalist, will testify along with Nick Cheesman from the Asian Legal Resource Center.

"The changes to the schedule are obvious attempts to intimidate the defense's case," said IFJ president Christopher Warren.

On Wednesday August 17, Thepchai Yong, group editor for the Nation Multimedia Group was the second defense witness to testify in support of Supinya. Thepchai Yong, former news director of iTV, testified that he had learned from former iTV colleagues that the station's management had put pressure on the news section to report favourably of Thai Rak Thai and Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thepchai Yong testified to the court that he believed Supinya had the right to express her opinion about Shin Corp's business and that her opinion was in line with others who had followed the issue.

He stated, that in his view, Supinya harboured no anger or personal resentment against Shin Corp.

Supinya, secretary general of Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR), faces a two-year prison sentence and a ten million US dollar civil lawsuit if Shin Corp is successful in their defamation lawsuit against her and the Thai Post.

The charges are a result of a 2003 article where she suggested that Shin Corp financially benefited from Thaksin Shinawatra's election as prime minister.

The IFJ is in Thailand for two months to observe the trial and to support Supinya and CPMR in the trial and their campaign for freedom of expression in Thailand.

For more information please contact Lara Hook in Thailand on +66 (0) 67360969 or IFJ President Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries worldwide