The following is a statement issued by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand for its members.
Due to laws in Thailand relating to contempt of court, the professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club is constrained in what can be said concerning criminal charges for defamation brought against BBC correspondent Jonathan Head, which are being tested in a Thai court at taxpayer’s expense.
This is an important case that merits the broadest attention. It tests the legal limits of how much a journalist can report in what he/she genuinely believes to be the public interest without fear of legal redress.
Of broader significance, it shines a light on how notarized signatures are sometimes used in Thailand on important documents, such as title deeds, shares, wills, company directorships, and so forth. This is therefore a case of considerable concern to everybody living in the country, not just foreign residents and investors.
We hope that this matter can be brought to a quick, unambiguous, and just conclusion for the benefit of all concerned.
It should be noted that Jonathan Head serves as chairman of the professional committee of the FCCT, and has recused himself from this statement.