FACTflash: Can TKNS be UNbanned???

February 28, 2012

I recently received an email from Paul Handley, author of the 2007 banned book, The King Never Smiles. The author, quite sensibly, wants Thai govt to tell where his book strays into lèse majesté, a real world charge which can get patsies like Joe Gordon years in gaol.


[Joe Gordon] was charged with translating the chapters [from The King Never Smiles]. But I have yet to see or hear from Thai authorities what specifically counts as LM in the book.  If the authorities won’t specifically say where the book is offensive, then how could they charge him? I am not saying that there is nothing in the book that could be construed as LM, but translating a banned book is not the same as translating a book which has been officially found to trespass the LM statutes. And they have not done that.

Joe pleaded guilty so it’s a moot point. And we all know what the book says and, as Streckfuss notes, there can be a problem of reading out LM-offensive passages and statements in court to make a case.

But I haven’t heard yet of them actually saying what is wrong in TKNS — as if it’s universally known and accepted.

Paul Handley

In fact, Joe Gordon was not charged with translating TKNS. He was charged with hyperlinking to the introduction and three chapters of the book from his weblog.

By sentencing, however, the court was ruling on the basis of this accusation plus one that he was the Redshirt (NorPorChor) USA webmaster, the “crime” for which a previous defendant had already been sentenced to 13 years.

This has awakened my interest in finding out if there is any way in Thailand to actually getting a book UNbanned. I shall have to refer to the Royal Gazette issue including the official banning of The King Never Smiles to find out if any content from the book was ever presented to Parliament (or was it the military’s NLA?).

Would any FACT reader like to help with this?

CJ Hinke

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)

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