Thai reporter sentenced to jail for libelling chicken farm

Chickens at a poultry farm in Karachi, Pakistan. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A Thai television journalist was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday (Dec 24) on charges of libelling a chicken farm on Twitter, her lawyer said.

Suchanee Cloitre, who was working for Voice TV at the time, was convicted for a post she made about a legal dispute over working conditions at the Thammakaset farm, lawyer Woraporn Uthairangsee said.

"I'm shocked and did not think the sentence would be so harsh," Suchanee told Reuters after the sentencing. She said she was worried about what would happen to her 8-month-old son.

Her Twitter post centred on complaint that a group of migrant workers from Myanmar made to Thailand's National Human Rights Commission about conditions at Thammakaset in 2016.

Thai courts this year ordered that the workers should get compensation after earlier dismissing a defamation lawsuit that the farm had launched against the workers.

Thammakaset, which denied the accusations from the outset, has also filed lawsuits against 20 journalists and activists over the case.

Representatives of Thammakaset could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Suchanee, 30, said she would appeal and is currently out on bail.

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