The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has filed defamation lawsuits against people accusing it of causing environmental destruction.
On 13 March 2017, Pranee Tangseree, Assistant Governor of EGAT’s Legal Affairs Bureau, revealed that EGAT had filed 15 complaints to the police against people posting content on social media accusing its power plants of pollution leading to sickness and death.
EGAT accused them of violating Article 326 of the Criminal Code, the law against criminal defamation, and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act, the law against the importation of false computer content.
EGAT legal staff said that well-intended criticisms are acceptable, but not false accusations.
“If the complaints or criticisms about EGAT operations are not honest and cause damage to EGAT, it’s an offence against the law. If any such illegal content is found, EGAT will file complaints immediately,” the Energy News Centre quoted Pranee as saying.
Under the controversial Thailand Power Development Plan 2015-2036 (PDP 2015), the Energy Ministry aims to increase power system reliability by reducing dependence on natural gas, increasing the use of coal via ‘clean coal technology’, importing power from neighbouring countries, and developing renewable energy.
Under the plan, the government will build more coal-fired power plants to cope with increasing domestic demand for electricity.
But for many environmental groups, such plans could affect local communities living next to proposed coal-fired power plants, which could also cause irreversible environmental damage.