Updated: More on cyber censorship and lese majeste

7 05 2010

The Bangkok Post (6 May 2010) reports on a seminar discussing enhanced efforts by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government to protect itself and the monarchy from criticism and opposition.

The Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) “blockade” of websites is adding “to the already-problematic lese majeste and cyber laws and their application which has in the past few years curbed the people’s basic rights and has ushered the society into the climate of fear…”. PPT could not agree more.

CRES is said to have officially shut down more than 200 sites and has asked internet providers to shut many more as well as demanding more “surveillance and self-censorship” from providers. All of this – and the other 17,000+ URLs blocked – is in the name of “national security” defined in terms that protect the government and the monarchy and provides the authorities with arbitrary powers.

Academics also questioned the government’s “intensifying and spreading the lese majeste plots”  and argued that this was detrimental for democratization and national reconciliation.

Anuthir Dejthewaporn, the outgoing secretary general of the Students’ Federation of Thailand, said “he and his two other friends were called in Monday for questioning in relating to the “lom chao”(overthrowing the royal institution) chart distributed by the CRES to the public. Mr Anuthir said the lese majeste accusation along with terrorism charge was perhaps the last tool the government could come up with to eliminate political opponents such as the red-shirted movement.” He added that “mindful and sensible people are not buying the plot. It’s the discourse that once worked, but no longer produce a desirable result like the history…”.

His view is that the alleged plot shows how flawed government intelligence gathering is: “They just want more names to link up with the Red-Shirted group so that they could have good excuse to wipe them up.”

PPt wonders where the government can go to from here. Abhisit’s demand that protecting the monarchy be a part of the “road map” means that the monarchy will remain a powerful force for politically repressive action.

Update: And to add more to this, Prachatai reports that is continues to be blocked and blocked again by the government.



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