PHUKET – The United Nations has urged Thailand’s Navy to drop defamation charges against an Australian and a Thai journalist for a report alleging military involvement in people-smuggling, warning of a ”chilling effect” on press freedom.
Former Age deputy editor Alan Morison and colleague Chutima Sidasathian have been accused by a military officer of damaging the Thai navy’s reputation and breaching the country’s Computer Crimes Act.
Morison edits news website Phuketwan. They face jail if convicted.
”Criminal prosecution for defamation has a chilling effect on freedom of the press, and international standards are clear that imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.