CLOSE

SLAPP Lawsuit Used to Silence Reporting on Alleged Labour Rights Abuses

SLAPP Lawsuit Used to Silence Reporting on Alleged Labour Rights Abuses

Media Defence is supporting Thai journalist subject to SLAPP lawsuit after reporting on alleged labour rights violations

We are supporting Suchanee Cloitre, a journalist facing criminal defamation proceedings filed by Thammasakaet, a poultry company based in Thailand. In 2019, Thailand’s Human Rights Commission accused the company of committing serious labour rights violations against its migrant workers. Cloitre then tweeted about those allegations, characterising the company’s actions as akin to “slave labour”. As a result, Thammasakaet filed criminal defamation charges against her.

The lawsuit is among 39 criminal and civil actions filed by Thammasakaet against 22 people who have reported on or complained about the company’s labour practices. These cases have been widely criticised as SLAPP litigation. In March 2020 a group of UN experts, including David Kaye, then Special Rapporteur of freedom of expression, condemned the company’s “continued misuse of judicial processes … to harass and silence human rights defenders who have spoken out against its abusive and exploitative labour practices”.

Cloitre was initially convicted of the offence and sentenced to two years non-probational imprisonment. In October 2020, Thailand’s Appeal Court overturned that verdict. It considered that Cloitre’s tweet was properly characterised as journalistic reporting. Consequently, Thammasakaet appealed that decision, and the case now moves to the Supreme Court.

If you are a journalist or citizen journalist in need of support, please click here.

If you would like to support our work, please click here.

Recent News

Guardians of the Amazon: Abraji and FLIP’s Joint Report on Journalism in the Region

Our partners, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) and the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) have joined forces to address the challenges facing journalism in the Amazon, one of the most difficult regions to cover due to its natural density and the intersection of legal and illegal economic interests. For this report, the two […]

Read

Meet the Team: Chloe Pethick, MEL Officer

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’m Chloe Pethick, and I joined Media Defence in February 2024 as the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer. I hold a BA in Russian and International Relations, and an MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies, so I’ve previously had quite a strong regional focus. Prior to joining […]

Read

World Press Freedom Day Side Event: Profiling and surveillance, a renewed challenge to freedom of expression

From May 2-4 2024, UNESCO and the government of Chile will host the 31st edition of World Press Freedom Day in Santiago. The global commemorative conference commemorates the vital role of journalism and information access in fostering a sustainable future that upholds diversity of voices. Media Defence is organising a side event at the conference […]

Read