|11th January |
Thai society passes harsh judgement
See article from prachatai.com
|14th January |
Academic calls for abolition of L่se Majest้ law
article from google.com
interview from radioaustralia.net.au
A Thai academic who is facing charges of insulting the monarchy called for a campaign to abolish the law under which he could be jailed for 15 years.
Ji Ungpakorn, a prominent activist and political scientist at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn
University, said police have asked to question him over a book he wrote about Thailand's 2006 military coup.
His case is the latest sign of ideological struggle over the role of the monarchy, a subject that was once taboo. There has been a recent
spate of complaints and prosecutions for lese majeste — as the charge is called — and increased censorship of Web sites allegedly critical of the institution.
Ji said at a news conference that the lese majeste law, which mandates a
jail term of three to 15 years for defaming the king, the queen or the heir to the throne, restricts freedom of speech and expression and does not allow for public accountability and transparency of the institution of the monarchy.
charged that it is used as a tool by the military, and other authoritarian elites, in order to protect their own interests. He claimed he was being targeted for political reasons because he criticized the military and its coup.
elected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has promised to take all measures to prevent people from defaming the monarchy.
|25th January |
Thailand to launch PR campaign to 'educate' foreigners about its lese majeste law
Thailand's Senate has resolved to set up an extraordinary committee to strictly enforce laws in the name of protection of the monarchy following an increasing number of websites found to be offensive to the royal institution.
The Senate voted 90
to 17 to set up an extraordinary panel to follow up on the enforcement of laws and articles relating to the protection of the monarchy is to be headed by national police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan.
Currently, there are over 10,000 websites deemed
offensive to the monarchy. The Information and Communication (ICT) Ministry has been able to block only 2,000 sites.
The Justice Ministry will coordinate with the Foreign Ministry to launch a campaign among foreigners to educate them about
lese majeste laws.
Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said he would coordinate with the Foreign Ministry to instruct all Thai embassies abroad to launch public relations campaigns about lese majeste laws which impose harsh punishments on
those who insult the Thai monarchy.
|26th January |
Australia asks Thailand to pardon Harry Nicolaides
Australia asked Thailand to pardon a writer from Melbourne who received three years in prison for insulting the royal family in three sentences of a novel that sold seven copies.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith made the request in a letter to his
Thai counterpart after Harry Nicolaides pleaded guilty this week to defaming the head of state, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and his son.
Now that the legal processes before Thailand’s courts have concluded, Australian officials have advised
Thai officials that the Australian government strongly supports Mr. Nicolaides’s pardon application, Smith said in a statement.
The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, which took power last month after backing a royalist
protest group, is cracking down on Web sites that insult the king, a crime punishable by as many as 15 years in prison.
Thailand has received the pardon request from Australia’s government and will process it in a timely manner, Tharit Charungvat, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.
|27th January |
Another issue of The Economist withdrawn from Thailand
article from news.bbc.co.uk
Another edition of UK-based current affairs magazine The Economist has been withdrawn in Thailand, amid local fears over its coverage of the royal family.
The Economist's Thai distributor held back Friday's issue - which contains an
article about an Australian writer who was jailed for allegedly slandering the monarchy.
Last month another edition was banned because of an article questioning the Thai king's role in public life.
The Economist sent an e-mail to
its Asia subscribers stating: This week our distributors in Thailand have decided not to deliver the Economist in light of our coverage relating to the Thai monarchy.
|1st February |
Third issue of The Economist withdrawn from Thailand
Based on article from iht.com
The latest issue of The Economist will be withheld from distribution in Thailand for the third time in two months because of its coverage of the country's monarchy, the magazine said.
The British magazine's Thai distributor, Asia Books,
refused to deliver copies of its Jan. 31 issue because the article might break the country's strict law against insulting the royal family, the magazine said in an email to subscribers.
The Jan. 31 issue contains an article, entitled A sad
slide backwards, that criticizes Thailand for alleged abuse of Muslim migrants from Myanmar known as the Rohingya.
Their plight gained international attention after several boats carrying around 1,000 migrants were intercepted in December by
the Thai navy. Human rights groups allege that Thai officers detained and beat them before forcing them back to sea in vessels with no engines and little food or water. Hundreds are believed to have drowned. Thai authorities have repeatedly denied the
The article's criticism was largely directed at the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Thai military in its handling of the migrants. It made only passing mention of the taboo subject of royal involvement in Thai
|9th February |
British professor flees Thailand after lese majeste charges
article from guardian.co.uk
A leading Bangkok-based professor who has joint British and Thai nationality fled Thailand at the weekend in the face of a lengthy sentence under the country's draconian lese-majesty laws, which forbid criticism of the king.
Giles Ji Ungpakorn
arrived in England at the weekend after being charged under the laws. He had been due to present himself to the police in Bangkok today and could have faced 15 years in jail if found guilty.
I did not believe I would receive a fair trial, said Ungpakorn, an associate professor of political science at Chulalongkom University and a contributor to the New Statesman and Asian Sentinel.
Ungpakorn is the author of A Coup for the Rich , in which he criticises the 2006 military coup. He said that the charges arose out of eight paragraphs in the first chapter deemed insulting to King Bhumibol. He claimed that the director of
a university bookshop stocking his book had informed the special branch that it insulted the monarchy. The offending paragraphs deal with incidents around the coup.
The English chapter of PEN, the international writers' organisation, has
written to Bill Rammell, the UK Foreign Office minister who is due to visit Thailand, urging him to make representations to the Thai government.
Carole Seymour-Jones of PEN said: We remain deeply concerned by the increased use of lese-majesty
laws in Thailand. Giles is the second New Statesman contributor to have faced such charges in recent months, the first being the Australian writer Harry Nicolaides, sentenced to three years in prison on 19 January.
Academics from the UK,
India, South Africa, Turkey, France, Greece, Poland, Canada, Australia and other countries have also protested. A group, including Professor Alex Callinicos, Susan George and Dennis Brutus have signed a petition expressing deep concern. In a
letter to the Guardian recently, more than 30 academics urged that charges be dropped.
|7th March |
Office of Thai online news website, Prachatai, raided by police
article from cpj.org
On the same day that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told a meeting of news editors of his intention to restore Thailand's press freedom reputation, police officials raided the offices and arrested the executive director of a popular online news
Prachatai's executive director Chiranuch Premchaiporn was arrested when a group of five or six Crime Suppression Division police officials entered the Web site's Bangkok offices. Officers also took copies of the hard drives of
some of the office's computers. Chiranuch was later released on bail.
The director was charged under national security-related articles 14 and 15 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for postings apparently critical of the Thai royal family made on one
of the site's boards, according to Prachatai. It is unclear if Chiranuch would also be charged under the country's lese majeste law, which criminalizes any criticism of the royal family. Guilty convictions are punishable with a maximum of 15 years in
We call upon the relevant authorities to immediately cease and desist from harassing all online journalists and commentators like Chiranuch Premchaiporn, said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia Program Director : Thailand has unleashed one
of the most aggressive crackdowns on Internet freedom seen anywhere in Asia and we strongly urge them to reverse course.
Prachatai has developed a reputation for independent reporting, particularly through its hard-hitting reports on the
conflict between government forces and Muslim rebels in the country's three southernmost provinces. The site was threatened with closure last year because of comments deemed harmful to the monarchy posted to one of the site's online public forums.
|2nd April |
The latest amongst a dozen cases of lese majeste
Based on article from
Suwicha Thakhor has spent two months in a Thai prison, accused by police of insulting the royal family. He says he should be allowed to express an opinion.
Arrested Jan. 14 and charged in connection with material posted on the Internet, the
34-year-old oil engineer said: We have to be able to think freely. They cannot stop ideas by sending people to jail.
More than a dozen similar cases are pending under Thai law as a widening political divide prompts discussion on the future
role of the monarchy.
The lese-majeste law is no different from contempt-of- court laws where you protect institutions that are neutral, that have no self-defense mechanism, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva claimed, he told reporters the
law would be reviewed to make it clearer.
Suwicha, wearing a prison-issued yellow shirt emblazoned with a royal insignia, said his views on the monarchy changed after the coup that deposed Thaksin. Police tracked his Web postings, which he
wouldn’t discuss, and read his e-mails, he said. He was arrested after dropping his kids off at school.
In the past, people fled to the jungle to share their political beliefs, Suwicha said, referring to a Communist insurgency in the 1970s
that was suppressed by the government: Now we have Web sites. If they want to stop it, they must stop the technology itself.
Suwicha, who has twice been denied bail, said he’s hoping for a miracle. If freed, he plans to work on a
farm and live a private life. Still, he makes no apologies for his beliefs.
|4th April |
Than internet user jailed for 10 years for posting insulting pictures of king
article from news.bbc.co.uk
A Thai internet user has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating strict laws against insulting the monarchy.
A court in Bangkok said Suwicha Thakho digitally altered images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family and posted them on the
The court did not say how the pictures were changed or where they appeared, but local media cited YouTube.
Thailand's royal family is sheltered from public debate by some of the world's most stringent lese-majeste laws,
as the police and army try to suppress what they fear is a rising tide of anti-monarchy sentiment.
Now up to 7000 blocked pages or websites
article from prachatai.com
On April 1st, Aree Jiworarak, of the Ministry of
Information and Communication Technology, said the Ministry's recently established Internet Security Operations Centre (ISOC) had blocked over 7,000 improper URLs or web pages, which included 1,403 culturally and morally offensive pornographic pages.
Now the Ministry is investigating the case of the pornographic animation clip Ninja Love which was posted at mthai website, and is trying to find the poster for prosecution.
|15th April |
Web forum moderator faces 50 years for not deleting posts quickly enough
on article from facthai.wordpress.com
Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of independent Thai online news portal Prachatai, was arrested March 6 under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act. Her charges resulted from allowing comments posted by readers of Prachatai’s online discussion fora alleged to
be lèse majesté.
On April 7, Chiranuch was called to Royal Thai Police headquarters for further investigation. Thai police laid nine new charges against Chiranuch resulting from the information she herself gave them after her
Police claim the alleged illegal postings were allowed to remain on Prachatai for periods of one to fifteen days. Police consider each posting to be a separate violation of the computer law even though these were removed promptly after
notification by Thailand’s ICT ministry.
None of the webboard posters have been arrested possibly as it is beyond the data retention period when IP addresses can be traced.
Additional charges under the cybercrime law mean that Chiranuch
is facing 50 years in prison for comments she did not create and not self-censoring webboard posts fast enough for government censors.
Police also told Chiranuch that six more persons will be charged later this month under the computer act.
|17th April |
More self censorship of The Economist magazine in Thailand
Based on article from
The Economist has again decided not to distribute its magazine in Thailand this week because of coverage of the Thai monarchy.
In an email to subscribers the magazine confirmed: Due to the sensitive nature of our coverage on the Thai monarchy,
we decided not to distribute the April 18th 2009 issue of The Economist in Thailand.
This week's magazine appears to have two Thailand related articles although the sensitive article is entitled The trouble with Thailand's King .
It is sure to thrust Thailand's lese majeste laws into the global spotlight once again.
This is the third edition of the magazine this year to suffer distribution problems this year.
|30th April |
Human rights groups call on Thailand to revise lese majeste laws
Media caught in the middle of Thai conflict from cpj.org by Shawn W
I posted a video of the king on the Internet, Suwicha Thakor told Reporters Without Borders from behind a plexiglas screen in Bangkok’s Klong Prem prison on 20 April. The police should have told me what I was doing was wrong. It is not right to
be sentenced to 10 years in prison for this. I am not a problem for the country or its security. I am in prison for nothing.
Suwicha was given the 10-year sentence on 3 April on a charge of lese majeste. Reporters Without Borders wrote to the
king yesterday asking him to grant Suwicha a royal pardon.
Reporters Without Borders and 31 other human rights, press freedom and journalists organisations have issued a joint appeal to the Thai government for a revision of article 112 of the
Thai criminal code on lese majeste.
Since a new government took over last December, the authorities have stepped up enforcement of the lese majeste law and the Internet has been one of the leading victims. Access to more than 50,000 websites is
currently blocked because of content critical of the monarchy. Around ten people are being prosecuted (or have been prosecuted) for lese majeste and two of them have been convicted. The crime of lese majeste is punishable by three to 15 years in prison.
Call to the Prime Minister to review the lese majeste law:
We, human rights groups, journalists and the victims of arbitrary lese majeste prosecutions appeal to Thai authorities to review criminal code article 112 on
national security offences, under which any defamatory, insulting or threatening comments about the king, queen, crown prince or regent is deemed to be a crime of lese majeste punishable by three to 15 years in prison.
Access to more than 50,000
webpages has been blocked because of content critical of the monarchy, some 10 people are currently being prosecuted on lese majeste charges, at least two are in prison, and more held without bail.
This situation has gone unresolved far too long.
|11th November |
Thai politicians unimpressed by Times interview of Thaksin
Based on article from timesonline.co.uk
A group of Thai politicians and generals have accused a Times journalist of insulting the country's monarchy by reporting comments by Thaksin Shinawatra — an offence that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
The complaint against Richard
Lloyd Parry, the Asia editor of The Times, derives from an interview with Thaksin that was published in Monday's newspaper and on Times Online the day before.
According to the Bangkok Post, members of a group of Thai monarchists called Siam
Samakkhi (United Siam) have made an allegation of lèse-majesté against Thaksin and Lloyd Parry. The Government blocked parts of Times Online from being accessed within the country.
Kasit Piromya, the Foreign Minister, said: Thaksin's interview is a violation of the monarchy, which is the country's core pillar and a highly respected institution. It is unacceptable and should have never taken place.
It is not clear which parts of the interview led to the complaint by four members of Siam Samakkhi. They include Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn, a critic of Thaksin, and General Somchet Boonthanom, the former head of the Thai Council for National
|20th March |
The Economist pulls another issue from distribution in Thailand
article from www1.voanews.com
One of the world's most popular English-language news publications will not be distributed in Thailand this week because of an article on the nation's monarchy.
In an email issued to subscribers, the UK-based magazine The Economist, said that due
to the sensitive nature of the publication's coverage of the Thai monarchy, the March 20th edition will not be distributed in the South East Asian country. There were no indications that the online edition of The Economist would be affected.
article in question examines concerns in Thailand over the question of potential royal succession and how it relates to recent political unrest in the country.
Friday's self-censorship by The Economist marks the fourth time since late 2008 that
the publication has been pulled from circulation in the Thai kingdom over a story about the nation's monarchy.
|17th April |
Thailand complains about Australian programme
Based on article from
Thailand has protested to the Australian government over the airing of a documentary critical of the Thai royal family and warned that the broadcast could affect ties between the nations.
A senior representative from the Thai embassy met with
officials from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs o express his concern at the programme, Foreign Correspondent , aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The concern is that it might affect the good relations
between Thailand and Australia, especially the people to people relations, Saksee Phromyothi, minister-counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy, told AFP: We consider this an issue matter of national security... because the royal family, the monarchy,
in our constitution is above politics.
Thailand's ambassador designate Kriangsak Kittichaisaree has also written to ABC managing director Mark Scott to complain about the programme which could breach Thailand's lese-majeste laws which prohibit
criticism of the royals: I regret that an organisation of the ABC's stature has lowered its own standard by airing the said documentary which is presented in a manner no different from tabloid journalism .
A spokesman for Australia's
Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that Thai embassy officials had complained about the ABC programme but said: The Australian government does not and cannot control content run by Australian media organisation .
|20th August |
Thailand becoming one of the least free states in the region
Based on article from
Criticism over Thailand's efforts to curb political debate online is mounting as the government restricts thousands of websites following deadly protest clashes earlier this year.
Thai authorities say they have blocked at least 40,000 Web pages
this year, according to the government's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, which monitors the Internet. Free-speech activists say authorities are blocking at least 110,000 sites, based on government disclosures and spot checks online.
Many of the sites feature criticism of the government or debates about Thailand's revered monarchy, a taboo subject here. As a result, some advocates say Thailand—long seen as a relative haven of free speech in Asia—is becoming one of the
least-free states in a region that includes China and Myanmar, when it comes to discourse online
...Read the full article
Update: Wikileaks Blocked
20th August 2010. Based on
article from google.com
have used their emergency powers to block domestic access to the WikiLeaks whistleblower website on security grounds, a government official said Wednesday.
The order came from the government unit set up to oversee the response to political unrest
that rocked the nation's capital earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said.
Access to this website has been temporarily suspended under the 2005 emergency decree, she said.
The Wikileaks block has yet to filter through, and for the moment, Wikileaks continues to be available to some in Thailand.
There is speculation that this action is more about toadying to the US who
are pissed off about the Afghan War leaks.
WikiLeaks has launched ThaiLeaks, a web page of downloadable ‘magnet links’ to Thailand news items. The whistleblower announced the launch of the new page today on Twitter. It said even if the new page is
blocked citizens will still be able to access information through the links which can be sent in e-mails, instant messages, even printed on paper, in order to keep information flowing.
|5th February |
Thai webmaster on trial for other people's postings on the forum
article from cpj.org
The trial has started of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, executive director of the Thailand-based independent news Web site Prachatai. She stands accused of 10 different violations of the country's draconian 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA), each of which carries a
maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The case centers on comments posted by users of a Prachatai Web board that authorities have charged were defamatory of the Thai monarchy--a criminal offense under Thai law. Chiranuch has been charged under
the CCA's Section 15, which pertains to the liability of online intermediaries, including Internet service providers (ISPs) and webmasters.
Prosecution witness Aree Jivorarak, head of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology's
(MICT) said in his testimony that when his office brought the comments to Chiranuch's attention she immediately deleted them in her capacity as the Web board's moderator.
Chiranuch told CPJ that Prachatai's online forums received thousands
of comments daily in 2008--when the alleged CCA violations occurred--and that it was impossible to police instantly every comment that was posted.
Defense witnesses are expected to argue in upcoming hearings that the CCA's Section 15 is out of
step with laws governing intermediary liability in many Western countries and that the Thai law applies unreasonable obligations to webmasters.
|4th May |
Thailand set to ban mere mention of the monarchy during election campaign
See article from pattayadailynews.com
Thailand's Election Commission (EC) authorities have banned discussion of the monarchy in campaigning for the first national election since the political violence erupted in 2010.
The poll's body has not revealed the details of the new rules,
which were announced at a meeting with political representatives.
The EC will discuss details of the ban later, said Apichart Sukananond, the body's chairman, suggesting that parties who disobey the rules may be dissolved and their leaders
may be banned for five years.
Debate about the role of the monarchy is a taboo in Thailand as the country prepares its national election in early July.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva supported the ban stating that the monarchy was above politics and conflicts
, while the main opposition party Puea thai pledged to respect the rules.
Thailand advertises for the job of international news censor for cable and satellite TV
April 2020 |
See article from coconuts.co
TrueVisions is the dominant pay TV provider for Thai cable and satellite TV. The company broadcasts all foreign news channels with an annoying 5 minute delay so that a Thai news censor can hit the 'censor' button should the channel report about a
sensitive news topic.
Now the True company seems to have got in a spot of bother by openly posting a job listing for an international news censor on the nation's biggest job site.
TrueVisions has been criticized for its post on JobsDB for an
employee to monitor inappropriate news from 17 foreign news channels and talk shows and report them to superiors.
According to the job post, any content deemed to violate Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the section known as lese majeste, which
makes criticism of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The job listing did not indicate salary or other information about the job. Today, it had been replaced by a message reading , We're very sorry. This job no longer exists.
Thai court confirms the censorship of rap music video criticising the country's military dictatorship
||9th July 2022 |
See article from thethaiger.com
See video from m.facebook.com
A music video by Thai activist rap collective Rap Against Dictatorship has been blocked on YouTube in Thailand following an alleged legal complaint from the government.
The Patiroop (Reform) video, which was originally released in
November, was filmed during the country's anti-government protests in Bangkok demanding royal reforms. The video featured the rap group walking with fellow supporters and protestors, and featured clips of the Grand Palace in the Thai capital. On
January 4 2022, Rap Against Dictatorship announced they had discovered the video's ban from YouTube in Thailand:
Our music video 'Reform' was ordered to be banned by the government, which notified YouTube to restrict
Since the video's release, it has garnered over 9 million views on YouTube (from outside of Thailand). On 7 July 2022, Patiroob was again blocked on YouTube as a result of a Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES)
petition to the Court that it should be prohibited under the terms of the Computer Crime Act.
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the Court agreed that the song's lyrics, which seemingly allude to both the prime minister and king, have
a bearing on national security. They also ruled that the song, which promotes the idea of equality, was filled with obscene language.
According to the ruling, the music video also elicited comments from netizens about the monarchy that were likely
to affect public sentiment and national security. The Court dismissed arguments that the song was in keeping with constitutional freedoms of expression and that it was a creative work of benefit to society, saying that liberty must not cause damage to
others, especially figures many people respect. After the ruling, R.A.D. posted on its Facebook page that it would remove the Patiroob music video and song from all its public platforms.