09 November 2023

Sondhi v. Prachatai


Thailand’s Criminal Court yesterday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul against the online news organisation Prachatai. Sondhi had filed the case in August, claiming that Prachatai misrepresented his opinion by falsely implying that he supported another coup.

In a Facebook post on 31st July, Sondhi speculated on the future of Thai politics, listing thirteen potential scenarios. The last of these was the possibility of another coup, which he described as “ไร้ความชอบธรรม” (‘illegitimate’). Later that day, the Prachatai website reported Sondhi’s comments about the chances of a coup, though its headline omitted the word ‘illegitimate’.

The Criminal Court noted that the first sentence of Prachatai’s article quoted his reference to an ‘illegitimate coup’, and that the article also went on to reproduce Sondhi’s list of thirteen scenarios in full, thus mitigating any potential misunderstanding caused by the headline. (Dateline Bangkok raised the same points a few days after Sondhi sued Prachatai.)

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