Thai PM sues media critic for one billion Baht

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

In a move that is widely viewed as an effort to suppress criticism, the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shiniwatra is suing media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul and his companies for one billion Baht (24.3 million USD, 20.7 million Euro, 14 million GBP).

In addition to the civil lawsuit, the Prime Minister is seeking a court order gagging press related to Sondhi from making defamatory comments about him.

Yesterday, the Thai civil court accepted the case submitted by Thaksin's lawyer, Thana Benjathikul, who warned that the media figure could face jail should he not cease his outspoken criticism of the Prime Minister.

The case hinges on Sondhi's accusation that the government illegitimately awarded a contract for a satellite installation to companies controlled by the PM's family.

The government denies that they intend to shut down Manager Media group's website, and stress that they do not plan to try and suppress freedom of the press.

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