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Samui Times Responds to News Reports they are being Sued

After news reports emerged yesterday that the Samui Times is facing libel charges for labelling Koh Tao ‘Death Island’ the publication would like to make the following statement.

The Samui Times is not currently aware of any libel charges against the publication and has not been contacted by any members of the police, the Surat Thani governor or local officials.

With regards to labelling Koh Tao ‘death island’, this is not a label created by this publication, we have simply reported that it is a term used on social media sites and locals to describe that island that is internationally known to have a disproportionate amount of tourist deaths for its size.

The Samui Times is not responsible for the international press using this term, or for reports on deaths in anything but its own publication.

The Samui Times stands by its decision to report on missing tourists on Koh Tao and tourist deaths on the island. The Samui Times believes that it is in the best interests of any visitor to the island to be aware of numerous tourist deaths and the fact that many families of those who died on the island are not satisfied with the police investigations, and have been left with more questions than answers with regards to the circumstances in which their family members died.

The Samui Times believes that the island’s reputation is not due to its reporting, but rather the large number of tourist deaths. The Samui Times believes the islands reputation can also be attributed to tourists deaths going unreported for several weeks. Examples are the recent case of Elise Dallemagne and the case of missing Russian tourist Valentina Novozhenova, a case that was kept out of the press until the Samui Times broke the story three weeks after her disappearance which prompted a belated search for her on the island.

The Samui Times does not take responsibility for the island’s damaged reputation and does not believe, as a small publication, it has in any way attacked the credibility of the country, but, like other, larger publications, both domestic and international, has simply reported facts on deaths that have taken place and the reactions of the public and the families of those who have died.

The Samui Times has reported on irregularities in police investigations, such as the murder investigations of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, which was undeniably flawed. Furthermore the publication’s own investigations, as well as those regularly discussed on many social media sites, leads the publication to believe the judgement and consequent death sentences of two Burmese migrant workers are unsafe.

The Samui Times believes that news reports suggesting the publication is being sued is simply an attempt to bully a small publication and are surprised, if the reports are to be believed, that the Thai authorities have failed to check the logistics of the Samui Times and discover the company is not registered in Thailand.  The Samui Times believes many of the tourist deaths in Koh Tao warrant further investigation and believe locals blaming the media will only further damage the reputation of the island.

Finally, the Samui Times suggests that the authorities would better invest their time by examining an obvious problem on Koh Tao, and work toward finding answers and a solution, rather than diverting attention and blame towards the messengers of the press and media, both locally and internationally.

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