Continuing the LM discussion

17 02 2013

There has been a long discussion of lese majeste and the role of journalists and academics (surprisingly rather limited because of the attention to foreigners in these categories). THe 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 media freedom.

Over the last week there have been additional comments at New Mandala by Andrew Walker, arguing about foreign commentators, political tactics and research practicalities, with the latter coming down to this:

I would not have been willing to be so outspoken [on lese majeste] as a more junior, and less experienced, scholar. The careers of  journalists and academics who work on Thailand are dependent on ongoing access to it. The idea that they should give up that access in order to speak truth to power is noble, but it is unrealistic.

Also at New Mandala, Kevin Hewison responds and takes issue with these comments and concludes with this:

In some very dark days, foreign support and commentary for those jailed for political offenses was important. Not all academics supported those political prisoners then and there are a wide range of academic motivations and political positions now. However, when some see “outrageous prison sentences” handed out for LM, I see no reason why outrage can’t be expressed. If that outrage drives some academic research and writing, some of it may be better for it and reveal that speaking the truth is noble.