Committee to Protect Journalists on lèse majesté

25 02 2009

The Committee to Protect Journalists (reported in Nieuwsbank, 24 February 2009: “Thai monarch pardons jailed Australian writer”) has released a statement regarding the pardon to Harry Nicolaides and the use of lèse majesté:

“While we welcome the release of Harry Nicolaides, we strongly believe he never should have been imprisoned in the first place,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia sepresentative. “Thai authorities have used his case to sow fear and confusion among local and foreign journalists who touch upon the monarchy and monarchical institutions in their reporting. It’s time for that cynical practice to stop.”

The CPJ remarks on “The growing and arbitrary use of the law by government officials, including three cases filed by a senior Thai police official against BBC Bangkok correspondent Jonathan Head, have had a chilling effect on the country’s media environment. CPJ met earlier this month with senior BBC editors to discuss mounting concerns about the law’s usage.”