by RAY FLEMING SUPERMARKETS come in for their fair share of criticism - perhaps more than their fair share - but on the whole in Europe and North America they take criticism as it comes, responding as best they can without drawing too much attention to it. Tesco would not have become the force it is in Britain today if it had been oversensitive to critics of its supposed domination of the High Street and alleged bullying tactics with suppliers. Why, then, has it chosen to act so differently in Thailand over similar criticism there? By threatening to sue two journalists who questioned the company's expansionist tactics it has alerted authors and journalists in Britain who have written a letter to The Times in protest. The cases brought against the Thai journalists for libel could lead to prison sentence and 16 million pound fine if they are upheld. One article in the Bangkok Business News simply said that Tesco's Thailand operation was driving “mom and pop” stores out of business - hardly an accusation that would seem to justify the company's heavy-handed response. Experience shows that big companies are unwise to take journalists and ordinary citizens to court over such issues; it creates a “David and Goliath” situation where the public's sympathy will usually be on the side of David. McDonald's discovered the truth of that in its misguided libel action against two Greepeace activists in Britain some years ago.