FACT petitions Thailand’s Prime Minister over Internet censorship…by hand

November 19, 2010

FACT petitions Thailand’s Prime Minister over Internet censorship…by hand

 

At the opening of the 14th Int’l Anti-Corruption Conference at Queen Sirikit Centre for which Thailand’s Prime Minister was a keynote speaker, CJ Hinke, coordinator of Freedom against Censorship Thailand (FACT), presented the following letter by hand to Dr. Pakdee Pothisiri, commissioner of Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on November 10.

Dr. Pakdee stated he was not really a govt representative as the Commission is an organic body under the Constitution. However, Dr. Pakdee promised to deliver this letter by hand to the Justice Minister, Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, who was also in attendance, to present it to the Prime Minister.

The delivery of FACT’s letter was witnessed by Dr. Huguette Labelle, chairman of the board to Transparency International, Barry O’Keefe, chair of the Int’l Anti-Corruption Council and Dr. Juree Vichit-Vadakan, president of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), during the IACC’s inaugural press conference.

 

———————————————————————————————————–

 

10th November 2010

 

The Hon. Abhisit Vejjajiva

Prime Minister

Government House

Bangkok                                                                                                                                                                        BY HAND

 

Mr. Prime Minister:

According to your government’s official media releases from April 15 to today, 283,610 websites are blocked by your government.

Our website Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) has been blocked since May 9, more than six months. We host no illegal or even uncivil content.

It is ironic that an anti-censorship website should itself be censored by government.

What does a citizen do to get their website unblocked? I have been in contact with your ICT minister, your deputy prime minister will not return my calls and the military authorities at your CRES and CAPO are simply unreachable by the ordinary citizen.

Mr. Prime Minister, what about Chiranuch Premchaiporn, facing 60-years in prison under the Computer Crimes Act for statements she did not herself pose?

We wish to continue discussion of these issues with you and see our website unblocked now.

 

freedom,

CJ Hinke

Coordinator

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand FACT)

 

—————————————————————————————–

The Prime Minister has devoted a great deal of hot air to freedom of expression and democracy but, in fact, has continued Thailand’s massive censorship. We remind the PM of his own words:

 

‘No’ to censorship

Don Sambandaraksa

Bangkok Post Database, June 27, 2007

[Excerpt]:

The Democrat Party has pledged greater electronic media freedom if elected to power in the next general elections. Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva gave his views on the political turmoil and laid out his party policies on restoring the democratic process, peace in the South through prosecution of officials responsible for state atrocities and reviving the economy that has suffered from years of infrastructural neglect before fielding questions from a packed room.

“I have come up many times to express my disagreement with the way the current and previous governments handle the media, the Internet included. I am not in favour of blocking signals or blocking websites,” he said.

He said that it was a big mistake for the military junta to block CNN and BBC in the aftermath of the September 19 coup. “When they try to curb freedom of expression, they only hurt themselves,” he said. [end excerpt]

 

 

Do we really need to add that the PM has not responded to FACT’s letter despite a top official, Thongchai Sangsiri, Director of Computer Forensics at MICT, declaring Thailand’s Internet censorship “a failure”?

Frankly, Mr. Prime Minister, we’re not big on name-calling but, in your case we must make an exception. You lied to the public about your intentions on free speech before your ascendance as PM, you lied to representatives of Thai Netizen Network about the Computer Crimes Act, you lied to Prachatai about Chiranuch’s prosecution and then you lied to the FCCT about her case, you lied to the int’l audience about media freedom in Thailand and now you’ve lied to the IACC in front of 1,200 int’l participants from 130 countries. Our Prime Minister is a liar!

 

 

5 Responses to “FACT petitions Thailand’s Prime Minister over Internet censorship…by hand”

  1. Rob Wallace Says:

    Well, yes, he is, but let’s not forget that he doesn’t have any say in running the country. He has Prem’s hand up his back, he has the Queen’s hand up his back, he has Prayuth’s hand up his back and he has Newin’s hand up his back. This is a part of the deal he signed when he sold his soul for his 15 minutes of fame.

    He may not like blocking website, he may not like throwing innocent people in jail, he may not like having the blood of 90-odd people on his hands, he may not like lying to international audiences, he may not like covering up this governments stupidities and iniquities at homr. But he has no choice – you see?

    He must be a good man though, his mum loves him.

    Even if everyone else thinks he’s a shit.


  2. Everyone always has a choice – refuse or comply. Of course there are consequences. That is what separates the men from the boys.
    Many years ago in Saudi Arabia I refused to witch hunt on the behalf of the oil company there to hound company employees on the phone to tell them to get rid of their visible Christmas decorations or get fired. I walked in and told my Saudi manager it was against everything I believe in and it did not matter whether I still worked for Aramco or not. Surprisingly my manager looked up and said, “Tell them you are too busy.”
    When I informed my American colleague in Personnel of my decision, he said “You are taking the easy way out.” That was a comment if I ever heard one. No one does anyone favors by complying with repression.
    As to being able to live with myself every day, sometimes I miss the $10,000 a month salary, but having to shaft my fellow men and women is hardly a worthwhile enterprise.
    The above apologist-style explanation of Abhisit’s behavior left out his ability to make a choice. He can still look at himself in the mirror, obviously, but these days that is hardly a talent.

  3. Rob Wallace Says:

    Frank, hi.

    Safe to say you missed the irony then?


  4. Amazing Thailand becomes all the more amazing…
    “CRES bans souvenirs that ’cause disunity’
    Violations could bring 2 years’ jail, big fines

    * Published: 20/11/2010 at 12:00 AM
    * Newspaper section: News

    The Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation has banned souvenirs and other materials considered offensive to the monarchy and pandering to disunity which were made available at the red shirt rally in Bangkok on Friday.

    Reds rally in memory of fallen friends. Thousands of red shirt supporters converge at Ratchaprasong intersection Friday, marking six months since the military’s May 19 crackdown on their protracted rally in Bangkok. SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL

    The CRES on Friday issued a number of orders to prohibit the sale or free distribution of rally materials including shirts, photographs, illustrations and printed texts apparently aimed at sparking disunity in society.

    The orders also authorized security forces handling the red shirt mass rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection to confiscate those materials and take action against violations of the ban.

    People found guilty of breaching the ban, signed by army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, could face up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

    However, CRES spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd conceded it may be difficult to determine what items should be banned, so it would be up to the police to judge what rally items would cause disunity.

    Col Sansern said feet-shaped plastic clappers should be fine, but not a pair of sandals with the faces of government politicians printed on them.

    To enforce the ban, police would first give a violator a verbal warning. If he or she did not stop, legal action would then be taken, Col Sansern said.

    An army source said Gen Prayuth was upset when he came across T-shirts and sandals carrying photos mocking important figures.

    Gen Prayuth has also asked the media to clearly state in their news reports the name of specific red shirt groups. He insisted that groups adopted different standpoints and it would be misleading to lump them together.

    Special Branch Police estimated that about 7,000 people turned up at the Friday rally, with most of them from Bangkok and nearby provinces.

    No cars or loudspeakers were allowed at the rally, said police.

    A giant firecracker went off near the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel adjacent to the rally site as the red shirt supporters were leaving Ratchaprasong intersection at about 7.15 pm.

    A motorcycle taxi driver, Chaluay Rungrat, 41, said he saw two men on a motorcycle throw the cracker.

    Early on Friday, a red shirt group calling itself the United Front of Thai Citizens rallied outside of the Department of Special Investigation.

    The group called for compensation for the families of the 92 people killed in the political mayhem in April and May.

    Jatuporn Prompan, Puea Thai Party MP and red shirt co-leader, joined the the Ratchaprasong rally Friday after reporting earlier in the day to CRES headquarters. He has been charged with terrorism in connection with the April-May red shirt rallies in Bangkok.

    He is likely to be detained on the charges after his parliamentary immunity ends on Nov 28, when the House goes into recess.

    Mr Jatuporn told the Friday rally he wanted red shirt supporters to be patient and wait for more major rallies in the future.

    As for now, he said, the red shirts should focus on a general election which was likely to be held soon and would mark a victory for the red shirts.

    The Puea Thai Party is expected to make major gains at the next general election.”

    As expected, police have been given carte blanche by the military to act in place of courts to determine guilt or innocence. All of this “Don’t do” is every bit as bad as the communism Thailand has feared in the past, and violates all the principles of democracy and human rights anyone could want to debate.
    Down the tubes….it’s really befitting that Sondhi Limthongkul has sided with the Red Shirts in calling the present government a dictatorship.
    Shame, sadness and surly military tools for guys behind the scenes… These are the makings of something much more foreboding…


  5. Sign of the times…

    When Chavalit became deputy PM under Thaksin, I knew the country was in trouble. Yet a parallel relationship rose once again under the Abhisit government when Suthep became DPM. With people like this helping the head the team, the team sucks.


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