Last July, labor activist Junya Lek Yimprasert took up the cause of five women workers dismissed by the Thai subsidiary of the global PR firm Publicis Groupe. She described alleged sexual discrimination and intimidation at the firm's Bangkok office to reporter Stephen Frost of CSR Asia (PDF). Two months later, Publicis filed a complaint of "defamation by propagation" in Bangkok against Yimprasert, ostensibly for posting the CSR Asia article on her Thai Labour Campaign's (TLC) website. In Thailand, such a complaint is investigated and potentially prosecuted in criminal court, according to our own conversation with Publicis legal counsel Russell Kelley. The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court prosecutor summoned Yimprasert and brought charges. The court set a concilation date for May 31, 2006, with trial dates in November 2006. "I think the prosecution is pursuing the case because it feels there are grounds to do so," Kelley told PR Watch. Meanwhile, a global appeal has been launched on behalf of Yimprasert, accusing Publicis of attempting to intimidate TLC into silence.
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