Updated: Land of grimaces

25 12 2011

Updated to include link.

Marwaan Macan-Markar has a headline to that effect in his latest story on lese majeste repression. He begins: “The ‘Land of Smiles’ attracts some 14 million tourists annually to its tranquil beaches and glistening temples. But to many Thais, their country is becoming one of grimaces, thanks to its draconian lese-majeste (LM) law.”

He writes that Pravit Rojanaphruk, one of the few truly critical journalists in the mainstream media, “learnt on Wednesday from a popular alternative news website that he is being targeted for an LM complaint.” Pravit says “There is a chilling effect even before formal complaints are filed at a police station…”. In fact, Pravit has been a royalist-yellow shirt target for some time, precisely because he is a good journalist rather than a royalist lapdog.

Amnesty International Benjamin Zawacki is cited, saying: “Amnesty is unfortunately not able to assign a number of political prisoners in Thailand since the 2006 coup on account of the opacity of the justice system with respect to political imprisonment…”. We should add that AI might have been better placed if it had actually taken a stronger an interest in lese majeste much earlier instead of deliberately fumbling about with notions of royalist democracy and royalist good sense; oxymorons for anyone really, seriously interested in lese majeste repression. Of course, Zawacki adds that AI has “no plans” for any kind of “report to expose the number of people jailed in Thailand for LM.”




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