Mediashift looks at lese majeste

2 09 2011

PBS’s Mediashift has a detailed report by Simon Roughneen on lese majeste and recent cases in Thailand. This article looks at lese majeste with the California link to Anthony Chai’s case and U.S. citizen Joe Gordon’s prosecution. Many PPT readers will know the details of the story, that summarizes laws and events for U.S. readers.

David Streckfuss is cited as telling MediaShift that “Thai royalists argue that the Thai monarchy is unique and so deserves unique punishment. But critics claim the law is used arbitrarily as a weapon to silence critics, and undermines democracy in Thailand.” Streckfuss is one of those critics. The article observes:

Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws are likely the most stringent anywhere in the world, and despite King Bhumibol Adulyadej previously saying that he is not above criticism, Thailand’s politically fraught recent history includes a rise in lèse-majesté charges from a handful to hundreds each year.

The article also mentions the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn which is back in court this week. Roughneen states that he was at the court, “listening to testimony from police officers involved in the investigation against Chiranuch…”, and he spoke with her after one session:

she said that the restarted proceedings seemed to be moving faster than during the previous court sitting held in February, and that she remains “hopeful for a positive outcome.” Some of that optimism may stem from the notably-assertive judge now overseeing the case, who said in court on Thursday that the accused “is not at fault.” However hearings are scheduled to run into October, as things stand, with the witnesses for the accused not due to take the stand until next month.



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