Prachatai founder Jon Ungpakorn says police charges vague-Prachatai

March 6, 2009

Prachatai founder Jon Ungpakorn: police charges vague
Prachatai: March 6, 2009

Social activist and former Senator Jon Ungpakorn says that the Prachatai website was created when Thaksin was Prime Minister, because the Thaksin administration, though elected, consistently interfered in and kept control of the media.  Prachatai reported on the insurgency in the southern border provinces to let the public know that the violence came not only from the insurgents, but also from the state under the Thaksin government.  Although currently the media have relatively more freedom than after the coup in 2006, the arbitrary interpretation of the lèse majesté law has brought back an atmosphere of restricted freedom.  The law has been broadly applied to the extent that just a call to abolish or revamp the law is itself deemed lèse majesté.

Jon says that the police have arrested Prachatai Director Chiranuch Premchaiporn for comments on the web-board which the public use to share their opinions.  Prachatai has always acted responsibly and had a clear policy to monitor postings and delete offensive ones.  He observes that the police pressed charges without identifying which comments and when they were posted, but only said that Prachatai had left the comments up for a long time and the comments were offensive to the monarchy.

‘I don’t know if there was any order to shut down Prachatai.  There are many other websites that contains offensive comments.  Prachatai is an independent website, which is run under a legal foundation, making clear who is in charge.  I wonder who initiated this police action,’ said Jon.

The Prachatai founder says that he was on his way to the Crime Suppression Division, where Chiranuch is detained, with university lecturers to use their public positions to bail her out.  Though no longer a board member of Prachatai and not necessarily always sharing the editorial views of Prachatai, Jon thinks Prachatai has made a great contribution to Thai society, and the purpose of Prachatai is to advocate freedom of expression for all people.

Source: จอน อึ๊งภากรณ์ ตั้งข้อสังเกตตำรวจกล่าวหาผู้ดูแลเว็บประชาไทโดยไม่ระบุข้อความที่เป็นปั

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