Thursday, December 25, 2008

More lese majeste charges

* all photos copyright*

Royal propaganda posted by the PAD mob during their siege of Government House November 23rd, 2008.

More lese majeste charges are being launched against the foreign media.

Such archaic laws keep Thailand proudly in league with beacons of freedom like Egypt, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, and Belarus.

From the CPJ:

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ongoing legal harassment of BBC correspondent Jonathan Head. Police Lt. Col. Wattanasak Mungkandee filed a third criminal complaint this year against Head on December 23, alleging he had insulted the Thai monarchy in his reporting.

And an email from the Foreign Correspondents Club Thailand:

Suspension of DVD sales of Dec 9 event

The FCCT regrets to announce that since the Dec 9, 2008 event ''The State of Politics and the Way Forward for Thailand '' is apparently the subject of a police inquiry, the Executive Committee deems it appropriate to suspend the further distribution of the DVD recording of the event with immediate effect.

We would like to take this opportunity to inform members that DVD recordings of Club events have been misused by certain individuals with their own agendas, in a way that compromises the free speech values the media community and the FCCT
stand for. Members are advised to be cautious in and if possible refrain from, sharing or lending DVDs of Club events.

And an example of a BBC article that inspired lese majeste:

"The PAD has justified its actions as being in defence of the monarchy, and the king's portrait has been displayed prominently during all its protests.

Senior figures close to the palace have openly supported the movement.

When the queen offered to preside over the funeral last month of a PAD protestor killed during clashes with the police, it appeared to be a tacit blessing for the movement.

Some in the government even believe the revered king may be backing the movement, although at the age of almost 81 this seems unlikely.

Hard evidence is difficult to come by. But people's actions in Thailand are now being driven as much by what they believe as what they know to be true.

The government and its rural followers believe there is a palace-army-elite conspiracy to rob them of their electoral mandate."

And some comments from the Bangkok Pundit on these recent charges:

"The thing with lese majeste complaints is that someone makes a complaint against you, no matter how flimsly the charges, any prudent person has to hire a lawyer (when the offence carries a jail sentence of 3-15 years do you really want to dismiss it?). You'll have to go to the police station, be interviewed etc. If you are unlucky enough you might not even get bail pending trial. These are all risks. What about the complaint? It costs them nothing. They are free to go on their merry way to think up more ways to lay charges.

Curiously, the BBC doesnt report this story. Do their editors think that one of their correspondents being charged with a law that contradicts freedom of speech is not a story?


  1. Jonathan Head is definitely guilty and now that Apisit has come into power it is clear that he is trying to change his stance by being nice to Apisit. I think Watanasak is a brave policeman trying to protect his country and now that he has linked the Finland Plan to Jonathan Head people are trying to discredit him. I do not believe that there is fervent royalism involved, it is simply not allowing people to defame and use misinformation for their lobbying purpose for whoever is the client

  2. Why don't we just stop pretending that Thailand is a democracy and call it what it really is - a communist country with a monarchy?

    Jonathan Head is just a journalist from the BBC. If Thailand is so confident of it's culture and customs then why is it so bothered about what foreign media reports?

    In all the articles mentioned above the problem is that it's all true! Whilst the PAD are shooting into a crowd of people they're holding up a picture of the King! Did anybody not see that? The Queen attended the funeral of a PAD protester but said nothing in support of police who were attacked by the PAD, or the people who were murdered and their bodies dumped at Don Muang airport.

    These are all facts, there is no defamation involved.


Agree or disagree? Please comment