Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ugly lese majeste

A Banksy portrait of the Queen of England.

The ugly appearance of lese majeste/Computer Crimes Act is back and freedom of speech and the press is again under attack.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, at the liberal Prachatai online news site, was arrested and charged for not censoring user comments fast enough.

As the above picture illustrates, constitutional monarchies like Great Britain have evolved (pun intended) to a point where freedom of speech can coexist with a monarchy.

Yet in Thailand, citizens and foreigners are subject to draconian laws that can send people to jail for not standing up during the royal propaganda played at movie theaters, for expressing political opinion, posting online comments, and in the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, for simply not self-censoring free speech fast enough.

Not only is Thailand's lese majeste law an international disgrace, but in perspective of personal freedoms, it is also barbaric.

That anyone can face an astounding 50-year sentence for exercising one of the most basic human rights is astounding.

Political Prisoners Thailand suggests to "watch this case carefully and urges all interested and concerned parties to write to the Thai embassies and consulates in their areas."

I think we also need to push organizations like
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to take Thailand to task for violating basic human rights.

We should also consider discouraging tourists from visiting Thailand. If Burma's tourism industry is subject to such an embargo, Thailand's continued attacks on human rights warrants similar treatment.

Dont forget, its not just lese majeste which Thailand transgresses on human rights. Thailand is a habitual and abuser of human rights as demonstrated by a number of issues like the Rohingyas being towed out to sea to die or the simple fact that not a single member of the security forces have been been prosecuted for gross human rights violations in the deep south.

And finally, this should serve as an example that Prime Minister Abhisit is simply a liar who should not be trusted.

I remember a triumphant Abhisit last year boldly claiming that "justice" would be the way to measure the success of his government.

By any measure, his government has been a complete failure and it is specifically the failure of justice, as demonstrated by the continued use of lese majeste and the computer crimes act, that shows just how hollow his rhetoric has been all along.

ไชโย! (Chai yo)


  1. Agree

    we would all laugh at the silly Thais except its tragic for the people

    and its dangerous for anyone going to Thailand

    this "laughable" law extends and can be used to catch anyone that makes any sort of criticism of the Thai royal family even from outside Thailand

    so, if you have made remarks on the Internet, be very careful about visiting Thailand, you could be picked up and thrown in gaol at the airport!

  2. I agree.

    Thailand's Lese majeste law /cyber law is also being applied in other countries, for example the USA, where US citizens are being interrogated by Thai police with the consent of US police officials.

    This is totally unacceptable in democratic countries, but it's happening. The questions is, what are foreigners goint to do about it?

    I myself was interrogated by Spanish police over an e-mail I wrote relating to the Thai king. But I refused point blank police "suggestions" that I voluntarily attend a meeting with Thai police.

  3. I agreed completely all up until the last bit about Aphisit, lying, complete failure, all that, which was completely disconnected from everything else you said, and which I don't agree with at all! You would have been better, much better, to leave that out.

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