Here's a funny situation I've just found myself in. Over the past year I've been trying to disclose to a U.S. based organization details of the foreign organization they are supporting that indicate it might not be on the up and up.
I'm specifically concerned that it is exploiting children of vulnerable families as value propositions (as so-called "orphans") and profiting off of the foreign contributions. There is a potential that some of the children are being unnecessarily held in an institution away from their families, on a long-term basis and to their lifelong detriment. My concerns were effectively dismissed.
A few weeks ago, a member of the organization contacted me, soliciting a donation. I replied with a text message qualifying my concern as a "serious possibility" that the organization is "actively supporting the trafficking of children".
Yesterday, I got a signed letter demanding that I retract my statement (in a private text message) or turn over my evidence (which I qualified as credible) within seven days.
I have many reasons to be suspicious of both the local and foreign organizations, just based on their behavior. However, looking back, I suppose the term 'actively' could imply intent, when I just meant to convey that the activity is ongoing via their continued funding activities (despite all the evidence I have already brought). Other than that, I stand by my concerns as stated in the text message.
Anyway, this isn't a statement I've made publicly. The only people I've expressed my concerns to, aside from the organization itself, is my parents and my wife's parents. However, they have shared with a few friends, and so on, so some people are aware that something is amiss. I feel like the organization is just clumsily trying to intimidate me here, so I'm very hesitant to go to the trouble and expense of looking for a lawyer.
Can a charitable organization bring a defamation case before a judge based on a single text message?