Thai Hotel That Put American in Jail Gets New Label on Tripadvisor

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The travel review website has posted a one-of-a-kind notice on the hotel’s page, warning tourists that it was responsible for the jailing of a guest who wrote a harsh review.

After the warning notice was posted, the hotel said it was “deeply disappointed” and asserted that “the warning message from Tripadvisor is extremely misleading and lacks complete information.” “Thailand’s use of criminal defamation is really off the charts,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “It seems like the Asian notion of ‘saving face’ has really been taken to heart by Thais who don’t hesitate to head to court over the smallest perceived slight or insult. If Thailand would simply decriminalize defamation, making it a purely civil law matter, this would create a major change in Thai society overnight.”

The fine print of the settlement also required Mr. Barnes the American traveler who was arrested after being charged with criminal defamation for posting critical reviews of the Sea View resort on the island of Koh Changto obtain an agreement from Tripadvisor, and he asked the company for a commitment that it would not post a “red badge” warning — Tripadvisor’s most dreaded notice — on the hotel’s page. Tripadvisor gave Mr. Barnes a letter that he hand delivered to the hotel, promising the company would not post a “red badge” on the hotel’s page.