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Thai craft beer fancier fined for Fb photograph, overview

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BANGKOK — A court docket in Thailand handed a craft beer fanatic a 150,000 baht ($4,360) fantastic and a suspended six-month jail sentence for violating a legislation on promoting alcoholic drinks by posting a photograph of a beer together with his analysis of it on Facebook.

Artid Sivahansaphan stated Monday he plans to attraction his conviction within the hope of fixing a legislation he believes is unfair to shoppers and small entrepreneurs.

The 2008 Alcoholic Beverage Management Act prohibits “promoting or displaying, immediately or not directly, the identify or trademark of any alcoholic beverage.” It carries a most penalty of 1 yr’s imprisonment and a fantastic of 500,000 baht ($14,540).

Artid was convicted on Friday by a court docket in Nonthaburi, simply north of Bangkok, for a submit on Fb in 2020. An preliminary penalty of eight months in jail and a 200,000 baht ($5,810) fantastic was diminished to a suspended six-month sentence and a 150,000 baht ($4,360) fantastic as a result of the court docket thought-about his testimony useful, he informed The Related Press.

Supak Ko-it, a coordinator of Beer Individuals, a gaggle that promotes the liberalization of manufacturing and sale of beer, attended the court docket session and confirmed the small print of the sentence.

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“The court docket didn’t appear to grasp,” she stated. “Artid wrote the submit from the side of a client reviewing a beer, not somebody promoting it, however the court docket wasn’t focused on that time.”

Thailand regulates the manufacturing, sale and promoting of alcoholic drinks, with gross sales hours restricted and promoting or another depiction of alcoholic drinks largely banned throughout all platforms. On tv, photos of alcoholic drinks are normally electronically blurred.

Critics cost that the laws, notably on manufacturing, unfairly favor giant established corporations that are owned by a few of the nation’s wealthiest enterprise households.

Artid stated he’s a contract translator and doesn’t have any enterprise curiosity in alcoholic drinks however is enthusiastic about craft beer. His Fb web page, the place he has written about each Thai and overseas beers for about 10 years, has greater than 70,000 followers.

“I didn’t promote it. I didn’t encourage folks to drink it. I didn’t advocate for driving drunk. I solely talked concerning the aesthetic side of it,” he stated. “Thailand is a rustic the place it’s unlawful for folks to drink a beer and say it’s scrumptious.”

“The day that I waited for my bail approval, somebody convicted of drunk driving walked in. He was fined 60,000 baht, and I used to be like, ‘What? I write stuff at dwelling, and I bought a 150,000 baht fantastic,’” Artid stated.

Thailand’s common Transfer Ahead Get together, commenting on an identical pending case, stated the legislation is getting used for “bullying abnormal folks and native entrepreneurs.” It stated the ban on promoting ought to solely apply to enterprise operators, and small operators needs to be allowed to promote with some restrictions.

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