Cybercrime, lesé majesté and rights

27 03 2009

Supinya Klangnarong, coordinator of the Thai Netizen Network has blasted the Computer Crime Act as a “threat to freedom.” In the Bangkok Post (28 March 2009: “Activist: Police wield too much censorship power”)

Speaking at a seminar of the law organised by the Thai Journalists Association, Supinya is reported as saying that “the enforcement of the 2007 bill over the past two years and found the legislation was mainly used to threaten people’s freedom rather than to protect their rights of expression.”

The legislation which was enacted under the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly and “gave police too broad censorship powers to take action against computer and internet users and charge them with posing a threat to national security, said the media-reform campaigner.”

She pointed out that “police have arrested five internet users and internet service providers on charges of violating national security by posting remarks deemed to be lese majeste.”

She complained that: “This legislation opens a channel for police to interpret and accuse others of violating national security without giving a definition of what actions constitute a threat to national security. This allows them to arrest suspects and let them fight charges in court later. The legislation creates a climate of fear among people…”.

Not surprisingly, Police Colonel Pisit Pao-in, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police’s Hi-Tech Crime Centre, defended the law. He claimed “… it protected good people and was never used to persecute anyone.” He also asserted that “there was clear evidence the five suspects mentioned by the Thai Netizen Network had violated the cybercrime law. They made remarks deemed offensive to the monarchy and police would take drastic action against them.”

How will Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva respond to this contradiction of his earlier statements regarding these cases?


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