Cartoons and the threat to national security

5 10 2015

The military dictatorship is prickly. It hates all and any criticism. Usually, this prickliness and intolerance has been justified in terms of national security. Lese majeste is defined not just as a “defamation” but as an act against national security. Protests threaten security. And so it goes on.

Apparently, the threats to national security now extend to cartoons in national newspapers.

Sakda Sae Iew, a well-known political cartoonist at the mas circulation Thai Rath has had to report to the “office of the assistant army chief on Sunday morning after being summoned by the National Council for Peace and Order [the military junta] for talks.” By “talks” we can interpret as threats.

On arrival, Sakda said “he had been ‘invited’ to meet the NCPO but did not know what would be discussed.” He knew, according to Prachatai, that it was another case of required “attitude adjustment” fo those considered to have “distorted facts about the regime” and that his cartoons “might affect national security.”

Yes, we know, this is banal and crazy for he draws cartoons! But that is where the military dictatorship has landed Thailand, in a swamp of stupidity and repression.

Sakda stated:

The NCPO thinks that the cartoons which I published distorted certain facts because of the lack of information, so they summoned [me] for attitude adjustment to create better understandings about the NCPO,” BBC quoted Sakda as saying. “This is the first time that [the NCPO] directly commented that my works distorted facts, but I confirmed that I simply published works in accordance to the news which appeared on Thairath.

He stated that he will have “to be more careful from now on.” Self-censorship will now apply to cartoons. In this context, given that it is fearful of cartoons, we have found one that seems a reasonable representation of the junta.

The junta