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Thailand 11 May 2006

Shin Corp withdraws defamation suit against press freedom activist

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the 8 May decision by the telecommunications company Shin Corp to withdraw its defamation suit against press freedom activist Supinya Klangnarong and the staff of the Thai Post daily newspaper following Klangnarong’s acquittal by a Bangkok criminal court on 15 March.

“The end of all legal proceedings against Klangnarong and the Thai Post is a victory for press freedom in Thailand,” the organisation said. “It also proves that the cases had no serious basis and were just aimed at silencing a source of criticism. And it has shown that the conflict of interest involving Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra posed a danger to Thai democracy. We call on the prime minister to withdraw all of his defamation actions against journalists and freedom of expression activists.”

The court accepted the withdrawal of the action brought against Klangnarong by Shin Corp, which until recently was owned by the Shinawatra family. Its lawyers had demanded 400 million baht (8,500,000 euros) in damages. Klangnarong was accused of defaming by Shin Corp by saying in the Thai Post in July 2003 that it had benefited from the fact that its founder was now prime minister.

Reporters Without Borders and other press freedom groups attended the opening of her trial last year.

For more information on this case: see article.

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