Criminal defamation charges against Andy Hall, a prominent labor activist, violate his right to free speech and will have a chilling effect on investigations of alleged rights abuses by companies in Thailand.
The charges stem from a defamation complaint filed on February 14 by the Natural Fruit Company Limited for an investigative report about serious labor rights violations at the company’s factory. If convicted, Hall faces up to two years in prison and civil damages of 300 million baht (US$10 million).
Hall’s report, “Cheap has a high price: Responsibility problems relating to international private label products and food production in Thailand,” alleged that Natural Fruit Company Limited had committed serious labor rights abuses, including poor working conditions, unlawfully low wages, confiscation of workers’ official documents, use of child labor, and excessive overtime.
This is what globalization looks like…