Publicis PR Affiliate Seeking to Mute Bad PR?

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.


From the [[ Clean Clothes Camapaign]], The Netherlands:

Publicis Thailand Drops Suit Against TLC Coordinator!

The CCC is pleased to report that Publicis Thailand, the Thai subsidiary of French-based global public relations giant Publicis Groupe has withdrawn its libel lawsuit against Junya Lek Yimprasert, coordinator of the Thai Labour Campaign (TLC).

Yimprasert had been charged with "defamation by propagation" after the TLC website republished a CSR Asia Weekly article about an unfair dismissal case filed by Publicis Thailand employees. Following an international campaign calling upon Publicis to unconditionally drop their suit against Yimprasert, on June 20th Publicis lawyers withdrew the suit from Bangkok’s Southern Criminal Court.

Reflecting upon her experience with this case, Yimprasert noted “It is frustrating that we, who are directly in contact with workers that produce for the world and witness many rights violations, cannot bring the situation to the attention of the world without the risk of being sued. Furthermore, workers who report to us, of course, must face all kinds of pressures and risk being dismissed.”

“I think that solidarity action has worked again in this case,” said Yimprasert. “To every supporter that helped us this time: I would encourage you to continue your solidarity in any of the future campaigns led by LabourStart, Clean Clothes Campaign and Reseau-Solidarite. Your 'click' is really making a difference in the producing world. I think that my case has been further proof of that.”

It's really the dark side of the corporate world. When we talk about globalisation, employee friendly HR polices, growth oriented strategies and equal opportunity employers, such incidents of harrassment and threatening present a different picture.

Yimprasert is right in filing a case and fighting for the rights of a victim of such harrassment. The Court's ruling in her favour is a testimony othe fact. Way to go Yimprasert!!!

Mohd. Ismail Sheriff, Head-Content, Blue Lotus Communications