What you need to know about defamation law in Thailand
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
Lawyers for Expats Thailand provide solutions and advice to foreigners visiting, living, and working in Thailand.
Defamation in Thailand is taken very seriously and there are hefty fines and even imprisonment.
What do the laws in Thailand say about Defamation?
Defamation in Thailand may be in form of slander or libel. Incidents of defamation may occur in a business, political, or commercial context.
In Thailand, unlike Western jurisdictions, defamation may be both a criminal offense and can also be a civil offense.
Defamation is a criminal offense in accordance with sections 326 -333 of the Thai Criminal Code. This means that under Thai law, a person convicted of defamation charges may be subject to imprisonment.
There are two kinds of defamation:
1) Simple defamation — Whoever speaks anything about a person or company before a third person, in a manner likely to impair the reputation of such other person or to expose such other person to be hated or scorned.
2) Libel — document publication, drawing, painting, cinematography, film, picture, or letters made visible by any means, or any other recording instruments, recording picture or letters, or by broadcasting or spreading picture, or by propagation by any other means.
Especially social media which is now the number one source of spreading defamation or libel information.
The burden of proof lies on the defendant to prove that his statements are true. The defense that the defendant did not know his statements to be false is not acceptable in Thailand.
Before you start posting about someone know the consequences.
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If found guilty of an offense, a sentence of up to two years imprisonment can be sentenced on the perpetrator.
Defamation can also be a civil offense under section 423 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. If found guilty, then the offender can be ordered to pay a fine,
The two distinct types of defamation in Thailand. Under Section 423 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, defamation is defined as a person who makes false statements and circulates it as fact. The false statements must injure the reputation, credit, earnings, or prosperity of another person. If the defamer is found liable, the defamer shall compensate the defamed for any damages arising from the false statements this can be a considerable sum Even if the defamer does not know that his statements are false, if he or she knows that it should be false, the defamer is liable for defamation. The court is not bound by the criminal code’s limits on punishment in a civil case.
Under Section 326 of the Thai Criminal Code, defamation is defined as whoever imputes anything about another person to a third person in a manner likely to impair the person’s reputation or place the person in contempt or hatred by others. When defamation is committed by publication or other media made visible by any means, the offender is liable for imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of up to 200,000 baht. If the person who is accused of defamation can prove that the statement is true, the person shall not be punished. But the truth is not a defense for private matters that is not a benefit to the public (Section 330).
What this means is even if what you are saying is the truth if this is not deemed by the court to be of benefit to the public it is still defamation.
Be careful what you post on social media about a person or company or service as this can land you in serious trouble.
If you believe that you have been defamed and you have personally suffered injury or if you believe that you have been falsely charged with defamation, please contact our office for assistance.
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Lawyers for Expats Thailand is a dedicated law firm for foreigners and their families living and considering moving to Thailand and for Expats working or conducting business in Thailand.
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