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Freedom of Speech News From Thailand

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Freedom of Speech News From Thailand

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This article was originally released in Russian [May 23] by analytical commentary blog Mikaprok

In general, freedom of speech in Southeast Asia has also been a tense subject.

Take the newly crowned Thailand. There, on the one hand, there are warm and many wild monkeys (if you know what I mean), and on the other hand – the understanding of the Middle Ages. Almost like in Eastern Europe. :-(

No one is particularly embarrassed by the international opinion and Amnesty International, all people are adults and have lived in the jungle.

There is a wonderful organization called Dao Din. It is mostly a student association, advocating for democracy and free elections. Its activities distantly remind of those of the Anti-Corruption Foundations (ACF). They are also in favor of preventing illegal land transfers, income inequality and, of course, corruption.

They’re not really doing much. They organize rallies, road blocks and other visual reinforcement of their ideas.

In total, there are 15 such ACFs in the 69-million country. Some of them try to bluff and scare the current monarch, while others the military junta.

Disorder

Dao Din did not fully understand, and at the time of the next coup in Bangkok on December 1st, 2016, they decided to speak with one voice, telling the truth about the “king” who had stepped in.

They did this in a very original way, by reposting a publicly available BBC article.

As a result, it was shared about 3000 times, after which it was permanently from public access.

Nothing sensational, just these photos with some corresponding comments.

Freedom of Speech News From Thailand

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A criminal case was brought to the first person for disrespecting the status of a monarch by the local version of a Federal Protective Service officer.

Respect looks only like this:

Freedom of Speech News From Thailand

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Next 9 months in the pretrial detention center + 2 years in prison. Officially, for the repost of openly available information from one of the top 5 news agencies in the world. That’s how the legal system in Thailand works.

In May, he was released under the amnesty of the benevolent “Tsar.”

Two people from Dao Din, who fought for his rights over the last 29 months, suddenly drove off somewhere and nobody saw them again.

Another 20 activists are being judged in a sluggish process on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the throne from 2015 onwards.

And they helped in the social media agitation.

There is a Computer Crimes Act that restricts freedom of speech, both in the future and retrospectively in the past. Prior to its adoption.

To sum up – for everything that Dao Din did, it’s 40 years in prison for an activist.

Nobody can overpampe.

Like in the UK.

***

UPDATE: Some additional details regarding this case are below.

Citizen Truth also provided some insight in the issue of Thailand’s prosecution of freedom of speech.

Freedom of Speech News From Thailand

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On May 10th, Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa was released after serving 29 months in prison in Thailand after sharing a Facebook post.

“Pai shared a short biography about the king from BBC’s Thai service on Facebook. The day after, the police arrested Pai for defaming the monarchy by sharing the article, an alleged violation of the country’s lèse majesté law and the Computer Crimes Act. Pai’s legal saga had begun.”

“The country that doesn’t have democracy is really tough for people, especially new generations who want to live a life in their own style,” Pai told Citizen Truth. “There’s no freedom to do anything.”

Pai was released not because he served his sentence, but because the benevolent King pardoned 50,000 prisoners following his recent coronation ceremony.

“The general pardon, issued on May 3rd, said that whoever is serving a penalty with less than a year left shall be released,” said Yingcheep Atchanont, program manager at the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw).

That doesn’t mean Pai’s troubles have passed:

“Pai has also faced charges in five separate cases related to his activism: one case for violating the junta’s ban on political assemblies, for distributing fliers in opposition to a constitutional referendum. If Pai had been found guilty on all charges against him, he could face up to 40 years in prison. Some charges remain outstanding.”

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  • Barba_Papa

    Did somebody use Google translate for this article? I think the English language just got offended and is looking to give the author 40 years in a Thai prison.

    • Dear Barba_Papa,
      The thing is that the author of the Russian version of the article wrote it in the very same style. The Russian language also got offended by the same way. But this is the style of the author. The English article tried to keep the style of the original text.
      Sincerely yours,
      SF Team

      • Harry Smith

        Oh come on! Let’s see.
        The original: ”Кто-то берет на понт действующего монарха, а кто-то военную хунту.”
        You have: “Some of them try to bluff and scare the current monarch, while others the military junta.”
        In the Russian version it sounds perfectly because “military junta” is strictly related to “bluff and scare”. In your translation is kinda weird. I would translated it like “while others try on military junta” or more directly “while others try to bluff and scare the military junta.”
        Just my opinion.
        BTW, original in Russian sounds pretty normal. At least for me.

        • Dear Harry Smith, being a Bulgarian, I translated the article this way. If you being Russian want or are able to contribute to SouthFront with high quality translations from Russians, we would be glad to receive your assistance. You can contact us via info@southfront.org
          Sincerely yours,
          SF Team

          • Harry Smith

            No guys, sorry. Being conservative, do not want to collaborate with leftists. Just can suggest you to ask a person from SF who’s English is first language to read the translations. You know, kinda editor of English articles.

  • Brother Thomas

    Methinks it’s best to leave a system alone. I suspect the new King has capable people around him who manage the day to day affairs of the country without causing havoc and buffering the country from any potential harm he might possibly cause.
    ( Too bad, the same cannot be said for the US).

  • Ronald

    Dao Din, yes the CIA guys, democracy right.