Debating lese majeste and responses to it

4 02 2013

Saksith Saiyasombut at Siam Voices has a very useful post summarizing the debates that have arisen regarding lese majeste since the sentencing of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk.

He mentions the strong international reaction, including one by the U.S. State Department that PPT hadn’t previously seen. Also mentioned is the spineless response by those in Thailand who should be concerned, including the  such as the National Human Rights Commission and the Thai Journalists’ Association.

Football Somyos

Picture from Siam Voices, where the credit is: via Twitter/@Anuthee.

He also mentions some of the domestic reaction, including the widely publicized demonstration at the:

… football match between the universities of Thammasat and Chulalongkorn on Saturday, students (including Somyot’s son) from both sides were seen showing a large banner in the stands saying “FREE SOMYOT” and protesting around the stadium. The public protest happened in the opening ceremony – from which they were forbidden to participate – where giant paper-mache figures lampoon political figures, which was obviously this year prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Add to this the actions by Chiang Mai students similarly demonstrating and a range of other protests, including a constant barrage of events and actions seen at Facebook and other social media, and it is seen that outrage is being expressed quite vigorously.

Saksith also mentions the debate over lese majeste at and about the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. On the debate held there, a useful link is made to a transcript of the statement by the self-lampooning royalist Tul Sitthisomwong. On the raging controversy regarding the FCCT itself, Saksith states:

There’s been some controversy that the FCCT did not issue a statement on the Somyot verdict – understandable, since the club board has been targeted with a lèse majesté complaint in the past that was utterly politically motivated. However, the club itself defended their decision on the night of the panel discussion by saying that the FCCT is a club and not a journalist’s association.

For PPT the most basic point is that the FCCT has sidestepped its own claims on freedom of expression. Being part-time defenders of this freedom sets a dangerous precedent and, as royalist Tul explains in his comments linked above, it gives succor to the lese majeste defenders:

I am Dr. Tul Sittisomwong from the group of „Citizen Protecting Homeland“ including the monarchy that the Thai people love…. I want to be here, invited by the FCCT and (I am) so relieved that the FFCT [sic]. won’t have any statement about this sensitive issue. That will be a big thing after the EU.

The debate on the FCCT continues at New Mandala and at ZenJournalist, where even PPT is chastised for recalling that “the FCCT bravely put on talks by lese majeste opponents,” while posting about the FCCT sadly ducking the issue of freedom of expression and the draconian sentencing of Somyos.


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9 responses

7 02 2013
FCCT on lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and related to several earlier posts Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on […]

7 02 2013
FCCT on lese majeste « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] and related to several earlier posts Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on […]

8 02 2013
Above the clouds « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] recent Thammasat-Chulalongkorn soccer game there were several anti-112 protests, many of which were reported in the media. Yet we think there is room for interpreting that there was something more going on that engaged […]

8 02 2013
Above the clouds « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] recent Thammasat-Chulalongkorn soccer game there were several anti-112 protests, many of which were reported in the media. Yet we think there is room for interpreting that there was something more going on that engaged […]

10 02 2013
Western campaigners and lèse-majesté

[…] as the “self-lampooning”  ultra-royalist Tul Sitthisomwong is a wonderful asset for the anti-lèse-majesté cause (and […]

12 02 2013
What if we are not worthy of sympathy? « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] involving the FCCT, that we have posted on: Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one”, FCCT failure on […]

12 02 2013
What if we are not worthy of sympathy? « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] involving the FCCT, that we have posted on: Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one”, FCCT failure on […]

17 02 2013
Continuing the LM discussion « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] long trail is here: FCCT on lese majeste, Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on […]

17 02 2013
Continuing the LM discussion « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] long trail is here: FCCT on lese majeste, Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on […]