FACTorial: Stop Thai censorship and repression

March 7, 2009

FACTorial: Thailand – Keep your hands of our Internet!

Today’s arrest of founding FACT signer, founding member of Thai Netizen Network, independent news portal Prachatai’s website director and longtime free exporession activist, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, sends a clear message from Thai government.

Thai authorities want to stop freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, free discussion and free expression in Thailand, whether voiced on the Internet or through books, news, opinion and editorial articles, films and broadcast media. What kind of society can be have without being able to freely dialogue with one another?

The Web discussion boards at Prachatai and Same Sky are among those most frequently targetted for Internet censorship according to the leaked blocklists from Thailand’s ICT ministry. So far, Thai government remains unchallenged for the unconstitutional and undemocratic censorship of these fora.

Thai government must be held directly accountable for perpetuating the political class divisions growing daily throughout Thai society. Government’s repressive and draconian prosecutions under the Computer Crimes Act, the lese majeste laws and the Internal Security Act bely any lip-service at negotiation, compromise or understanding.

These arbitrary prosecutions and censorship in all Thai media fora are intended to stamp out all dissent, criticism or free opinion in Thailand.

Thailand recently had the most free media in Asia. However, Thailand is no longer bothering to make any pretence at democracy.

It is highly suspect that any comments made in Internet fora have been ill-intentioned. All the comments we’ve read have only Thai freedom and concern for the future of our country at heart.

The Thai justice minister has stated that there he will not permit prosecution of those unintentionally expressing comments which may be deemed illegal. Today’s arrest make those sentiments a bald-faced lie. Such a police raid must have had ministerial approval. Mr. Minister, where were you hiding?

Do we really want an unquestioning, uncritical, unthinking society, a return to the feudal oppression of the past? Does Thailand really want to be Burma, North Korea, Iran?

The recent revelations of a US secret prison in Thailand engaged in torture of foreign nationals with the cooperation of the military speaks louder by far than all Thai politicians’ platitudes, from the lowest to the highest. It is a quick slide from secret prisons to secret police. No one is safe in Thailand.

Chiranuch was arrested today by Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression authorities in a major police raid. Prachatai is made up of reporters not terrorists. Is this sort of “crime suppression” really aimed at healing Thai society?

Thai government bureaucracy is fuelling divisions which could potentially destroy our country and all it means. This abject political repression could serve to ruin all our King has accomplished for Thailand over 60 years. One has only to look to Nepal to see what happens when there is no room for reconciliation.

Political repression creates underground resistance as happened in Thai history during our transition from absolute to Constitution monarchy in the 1930s, during the Japanese military occupation of Thailand during World War II, during Thailand’s October revolutions of the 1970s and even during the Black May crackdown of 1992. Is this what Thai government intends as a reason to justify further political repression?

We need a change in public policy in Thailand. We need a government for the people not against them.

We all have a right to free expression. Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) demands an end to the abuse of Thai law used solely for political repression.

We demand all charges be dropped against Chiranuch and Prachatai.

Stop all political persecution in Thailand now!

13 Responses to “FACTorial: Stop Thai censorship and repression”

  1. peacerunning Says:

    Chuwat Rerksirisuk, Prachatai editor, says he has yet to see details of the charge against Prachatai Director Chiranuch Premchaiporn, but only knows that comments posted by readers and left displayed on the web-board led to the arrest.

    at same time

    PM “committed” to media freedom
    Speaking before editors from Asian countries, media entities and guests at the 10th anniversary celebration of Asia News Network (ANN) at the Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok, this morning (March 6), Abhisit said proposed liberal media laws are underway.


  2. Based on past experience, and character of Thai society, prediction on lese majeste law and media reform:
    1. There will be no amendment of current Article 112, unless the punishment is made more severe – for example, 20 years instead of 15, etc.
    2. More convoluted mechanisms will be put in place in the appearance of treating media more fairly, but instead will have a more overall restrictive impact.
    3. Additional legislation and Acts may be shortly forthcoming to reinforce Article 112.
    4. Police lese majeste investigation procedures will be amended, but not significantly. There is a wish to have the appearance of treating people fairly but also an underlying disregard for doing so as long as objectives to restrict free speech are retained.
    5. Human rights activists and experience need to be increased in all sectors of Thai government, including one member of the Privy Council who should be a member of a major international human rights group. But again, this is not likely to occur.
    6. There will be almost no dropping of lese majeste charges against current victims of investigation. Thais have made it succinctly clear that they regard such demands as interference in Thai culture.


  3. […] – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand accuses authorities of stifling freedom of thought in the country: Thai authorities want to stop freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, free […]


  4. […] leave a comment » FACTorial: Stop Thai censorship and repression ๗ มีนาคม ๒๕๕๒ FACT-Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand […]


  5. […] leave a comment » FACTorial: Stop Thai censorship and repression ๗ มีนาคม ๒๕๕๒ – FACT-Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand […]

  6. peacerunning Says:

    “We urge you, on March 12th, to champion the vision of the Internet as a free space for everyone”Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International write to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft

    http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30507


  7. ‘Thai government bureaucracy is fuelling divisions which could potentially destroy our country and all it means. This abject political repression could serve to ruin all our King has accomplished for Thailand over 60 years.’

    There are intelligent people in the government who know exactly what they are doing. Their hypocrisy is plain, but can they have such vanishingly small respect for the life’s work of HM King Bhumipol Adulyadej?

    ‘We need a change in public policy in Thailand. We need a government for the people not against them.’

    When will elections be held? Will this regime be allowed to cancel elections?


  8. […] – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand accuses authorities of stifling freedom of thought in the country: Thai authorities want to stop freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, free […]


  9. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30510
    Freedom of expression “systematically violated” in Tibet

    ‘ In the past few days, the editor of a Tibetan website has been arrested… Kunchok Tsephel Gopey, the editor of the Tibetan website Chomei (The Lamp), was arrested in Gannan, in Gansu province, on 26 February. Reporters Without Borders fears that he is being mistreated, as he was when he was arrested in 1995. Relatives said the police searched his house and confiscated his computer. “There is a general feeling of mistrust and paranoia… Anyone trying to access a free Tibet website is regarded as a Dalai Lama man and must be ready to end up in prison.”

    Does that sound familiar? The authorities in Bangkok are emulating the Chinese in Tibet!

    http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30514
    Call for presidential pardon after supreme court upholds Perwiz Kambakhsh’s 20-year jail sentence for “blasphemy”

    ‘ Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that the Afghan supreme court has upheld the 20-year prison sentence which Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh received on a blasphemy charge… The organisation added: “We now fear that Kambakhsh could be transferred to Pul-e-Charkhi prison or Mazar-i-Sharif prison, where his life would be in danger…” Kambakhsh was arrested on a [charge of] blasphemy in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on 27 October 2007 for downloading an article about the role of women in Islam. A Kabul appeal court imposed the 20-year prison sentence in October 2008.’

    Does that sound familiar? The authorities in Thailand are morphing into the Taleban!


  10. […] – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand accuses authorities of stifling freedom of thought in the […]


  11. […] – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand accuses authorities of stifling freedom of thought in the country: Thai authorities want to stop freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, free […]


  12. […] Tailandesa, ou FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand, em inglês) acusa as autoridades de sufocarem a liberdade de expressão no país: Autoridades locais querem acabar com as liberdades de expressão e opinião e o debate […]


  13. […] หยุดเซ็นเซอร์ หยุดกดดัน 8 มีนาคม 2009 — chapter 11 FACTorial: Stop Thai censorship and repression ๗ มีนาคม ๒๕๕๒ – FACT-Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand […]


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