(BANGKOK, February 17, 2020)—Today, Fortify Rights removed from its website and video-supporting platforms a short film entitled, “Drop Criminal Defamation Charges Against Migrant Workers,” published by the organization in October 2017.
The 107-second film focused on the problematic use of criminal defamation in Thailand and was produced and published by Fortify Rights in good faith to promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression in Thailand. The film recommended that the Thai authorities drop criminal defamation charges against 14 migrant workers and decriminalize defamation. Fortify Rights stands by the overall content of the film, which was not intended to defame any party.
Since 2018, Thammakaset Company Limited has filed multiple criminal and civil defamation lawsuits against human rights defenders in Thailand for the alleged sharing, tweeting, or reposting of the film or other content with a hyperlink to the film as well as other activities related to the film.
Out of respect for the court processes and following consultations with affected human rights defenders, their legal teams, and other advisors and members of the human rights community in Thailand, Fortify Rights removed the film from its website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Vimeo channel while cases related to the film are pending with the court. This action was taken to prevent further spurious defamation cases from arising or proceeding against human rights defenders in the future. Fortify Rights confirmed that the intention of the film was to promote freedom of expression and human rights. Fortify Rights does not believe the film is defamatory.
Fortify Rights continues to recommend that the Thai authorities drop all spurious defamation cases against human rights defenders and develop legislation that fully protects human rights defenders and others from judicial harassment in Thailand.
Fortify Rights is an award-winning non-governmental, non-profit human rights organization registered in the United States and Switzerland. Fortify Rights seeks to ensure human rights for all by bringing laws, policies, and practices in line with human rights standards. It investigates human rights violations, engages people with power on solutions, and strengthens human rights defenders.