In Thailand, the defamation is a criminal offense. Under section 326 of the Penal Code, the person commits defamation charge when they make false statement to someone by communication that false statement to the third person, causing damage to the reputation of the injurer.

The perpetrator could face the penalty of not over a year imprisonment or fine not over 20,000 THB, or both. H&P lawyers have prepared this brief article on the criminal offence of defamation in Thailand based on the regulation and our experience in these types of cases.

Public Defamation

However, if the false statement has been published, regardless of whether it is in offline or online form such as by the paper, Facebook or Instagram post or any other platform that the public can access. The penalty would be greater as outlined in section 328 of the Penal Code, leading the not over two years imprisonment and fine not over 200,000 THB.

What can you do if you are the Victim?

If someone is trying to destroy your reputation by making the false statement. You can protect yourself by claiming the defamation case against them. You can file the criminal lawsuit at the court. However, you need to be careful about the statute of limitation. Because the defamation is a compoundable offense (both general and public defamation) which is subject to three months statute of limitation. This means, you have three months from the date that you know the incident and the accused, to file the lawsuit at the court or file the police report at the police station.

Although the defamation is the criminal offense. But if you want to claim the compensation, you also need to file the civil case along with the criminal one. The reason is the court cannot grant the monetary damages to you in the criminal case.

What can you do if you are the Accused?

If the injurer proceeds the case by filling the police report, the police will issue the summons to your address in Thailand to give the statement at the police station. However, if the police have issued two summons and you do not appear. The arrest warrant will be issued afterward. So, H&P lawyers would suggest that you should cooperate with the police as much as you can in order to avoid the arrest.

On the other hand, if the case has been submitted directly to the court, the court will send the compliant and summons to your address in Thailand. The proceeding is similar to the above process. You must appear at the court on the appointment date. Otherwise, the court will issue the arrest warrant.

What is the defense of defamation claim?

If you have been sued by defamation offense. There are several defenses in which you can claim against the plaintiff. The first way is to prove that the statement is the truth. Under section 330 of the Penal Code, the person does not commit the defamation charges if the statement is the truth. However, you cannot rely on this section if that statement is about the personal things.

Other defenses are stipulated in section 329 of the Penal Code. For example, you have legitimate right to make that statement in order to protect your interest or the statement has been made by the state officials in order to perform the duty.

If you need to consult with a lawyer in Thailand about a defamation case, please contact our Bangkok lawyers at [email protected]

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