Abhisit: no free speech here

5 02 2012

Former Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has a abominable  record on freedom of expression. His government banned more media outlets than any other government in Thailand’s history. His government also threw more political prisoners in jail than at any time in recent history and this included the politicized use of Article 112.

That’s why it is expected that he would oppose the right of Nitirat to publicly discuss lese majeste and would set his Democrat Party buddies and spokespersons after Nitirat, making all kinds of bogus claims.

Par for the course. However, that he should demand the censorship of a political opponent by the Puea Thai Party is remarkable, speaking to Abhisit’s mammoth ego and enormous arrogance. Maybe that’s bred of elitist education and hanging out with those who believe they own the country.

He is reported in the Bangkok Post as demanding that the

government and Pheu Thai Party should warn Jatuporn Prompan, a core member of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), against causing distrust and conflict among people in society with his comments….

What seems to have got Abhisit upset is Jatuporn’s comments that there’s “a movement to topple the government and the Nitirat group of lecturers had been intimidated over the proposed reform of the lese majeste law…”.

Tellingly, Abhisit doesn’t deny either point. He just wants to shut up an opposition politician who refuses to be cowed by the anti-Nitirat frenzy of the ultra-royalists and the Democrat Party.

Abhisit comes up with the astoundingly lame suggestion that: “If Mr Jatuporn saw anything unusual such as intimidation of any group of people he should inform the government or authorities concerned instead of trying to raise it an issue to arouse suspicion.”

Right, that’ll work. We can see the Keystone Kops at the Department of Special Investigation jumping into action on that.

When in power, Abhisit knew how to shut people up. He’d declare emergencies, intimidate opponents and have them locked up. He was also pretty fast at calling out the army, and we know where that led.

Abhisit then claims a plot of his own:  “What he (Mr Jatuporn) is doing is an attempt to maintain the red shirts’ mass support base, probably for a certain purpose.

Abhisit doesn’t complain about royalist generals demanding censorship. He doesn’t speak against the censorship of Nitirat. He doesn’t censure his spokespersons for inciting hatred or spreading nonsensical conspiracy plots. He doesn’t speak out for freedom of expression. No, he supports authoritarianism, hierarchy, censorship, intimidation  and locking up opponents.

We do wish the “Democrat Party” would change its name to something that better reflects its attitudes and political practice.


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