Still seeking political voice

27 07 2016

Various groups continue to ask/request/demand that the military junta allow/permit/sanction some/any open discussion of the military’s draft charter prior to the referendum. That referendum is only 11 days away….

One of the recent demands has come from the “United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today condemned the alarmingly high number of arrests and charges over public and social media expression brought under military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act in Thailand.”

He stated:

I am seriously concerned that military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act restrict expression and access to information about the draft constitution…. The idea of a referendum is to allow for full debate followed by public vote, and particularly where the subject is of extraordinary public interest, a wide range of opinions should be encouraged, freely expressed, and open to rigorous debate.

Kaye is a little confused; the junta’s idea for a referendum is about manufacturing legitimacy, not allowing debate or discussion.

The notion that the “Thai government [he means the junta] should encourage an open environment for public discourse to ensure an informed participation during the constitutional referendum,” is outside the regime’s comprehension. No such idea has ever been countenanced.

Thailand’s inequality extends well beyond the discussion of income and wealth. Political inequality has been re-entrenched under the junta, most notably through the suppression of political voice for those at the bottom of the social hierarchy.