Civil Liberties in the Constitution

March 15, 2007

[ภาษาไทย: FACT เสนอเสรีภาพของพลเมืองต่อสภาร่างรัฐธรรมนูญ]



Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) has proposed to enshrine civil liberties in the foundation of Thai law with its formal submission to the Constitution Drafting Assembly.

Received by CDA chair, Dr. Noranit Setabutr and National Legislative Aassembly Member Angkhana Neelapaijit, FACT’s proposals are primarily concerned with preserving the core values of Chapter 3 of the 1997 ‘People’s’ Charter.

In particular, Section 37, Freedom of Communication, provided excellent public protection against censorship. It guarantees unfettered communication by any means, including the Internet.

Continuing today, Internet censorship of more than 45,000 websites by Thai government agencies is done illegally as there is no Thai law to allow it. In fact, both the Council of State and the Administrative Court has ruled Internet censorship illegal.

In addition, such Web-blocking remains unconstitutional under Section 37 as the 1997 Constitution remains the basis of Thai law until it is replaced.

FACT recommends that a privacy provision be added to the new Constitution that prohibits retaining logged data of any individual’s Internet activity.

Section 39, Freedom of Expression, allows all persons in Thailand to express their opinions in all forms, spoken, written and electronic form. FACT recommends this section be broadened to prohibit all censorship: no banned books.

FACT supports Section 41, Free Public Expression for unrestricted press, media and publishing freedoms. FACT also supports expanding Section 42, Academic Freedom, to prohibit all censorship of academic discussion, oral, written or electronic.

Section 45, Freedom of Association is vital to a free and democratic society. FACT insists that these provisions include the Internet such as web discussion boards and virtual groups which exist only in cyberspace. These cyberspaces have too long been an easy target for repression.

FACT also supports broadening the Public Information Access of Sections 58 and 59 and the Public Participation in Government of Section 60. Government must always be transparent and accountable.

This includes the Right to Petition of Section 61. Up till now, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand has not been taken seriously because it has no powers to enforce its recommendations. FACT supports full judicial powers for NHRC.

Lastly, FACT believes government should support an individual’s right to sue for redress in Section 62. A new section should be Freedom from Persecution, nullifying the defamation and lese majeste laws which have always been used by government as a tool for political repression and suppression of dissent. These laws contravene the preceding sections.

FACT believes nearly all people will choose good over bad. FACT supports freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of ideas. Free Thailand!

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)



One Response to “Civil Liberties in the Constitution”

  1. […] March 15th, 2007 [English: FACT proposes Civil Liberties to Constitution Drafting Committee] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: