Journalists acquitted of defaming Thai navy

2015-09-01 19:02


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Bangkok - Two journalists charged with defaming the Thai navy were found not guilty on Tuesday.

The court acquitted Australian Alan Morison, 67, and Thai citizen Chutima Sidasathian, 34, on all counts.

In the ruling, the judge stated that the defendant did not intend to damage Thailand or the navy's reputation and that the defendants reproduced information from a reliable news agency.

The judge also said the Computer Crimes Act of 2007 could not be used to prosecute cases of defamation as the act was not intended to be used in such cases.

Both Morison and Chutima faced fines and up to 7 years in jail had they been convicted.

Prosecutors now have 30 days to appeal the verdict.

The two journalists were charged for quoting a paragraph from a Reuters report in 2013 allegedly linking the Thai navy to human smuggling networks, on their English-language news website Phuketwan.

The Reuters report was part of a series of coverage on trafficking networks of Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority, which later won two Reuters reporters a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2014.

Phil Robertson, the deputy director in Asia for Human Rights Watch, called the verdict a "big victory for media freedom in Thailand".

Read more on:    thailand

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