Silenced by the fear of persecution

21 01 2011

Wikileaks has enlisted C. J. Hinke of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT). The Nation’s Pravit Rojanaphruk recently interviewed him. Worth reading the whole interview. Here are some choice cuts:

I believe most, if not all, governments have been lying to their citizens for a long time. Keeping secrets and keeping lies are not the same thing. Taxpayers fund their government’s actions.

C.J. Hinke (from The Nation)

On Wikileaks cables about Thailand, coup and monarchy:

Interestingly, most of the media thought this was news, that it was the public’s right to know and tried to publish it. For instance, the Bangkok Post carried the leaks briefly and, perhaps surprisingly, so did ASTV-Manager Daily. The cables are unquestionably real news, but we have been taught to expect a self-censored press in Thailand. All media, including citizen media, have been silenced by the fear of persecution.

On FACT being blocked in Thailand:

FACT was blocked from May 9, 2010, and when the emergency decree was lifted, it changed nothing. FACT is still blocked, along with well over 425,296 websites as of December 22, increasing at a rate of 690 per day.

When the state of emergency was lifted, the government had the duty to return the Internet to the rule of law. We should have gone back to an uncensored Web on December 22, until the government submitted its lists of websites for assessment by the courts as required under the Computer Act. The Thai government is blocking hundreds of thousands of pages completely illegally.

More cables on Thailand to be released?

Cablegate includes between 2,985 and 3,516 documents from the US Embassy in Bangkok and there are far more explosive revelations, particularly regarding human rights. While it is obvious that the publication of some would make one criminally liable, there has never been a challenge about whether linking to such material is illegal. FACT continues to link.




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