Lese majeste threats after the funeral

31 10 2017

Lese majeste has been a critical law and existential threat underpinning Thailand’s military dictatorship’s repression. The funeral last week has provided another opportunity for ultra-royalism to reach yet another high point.

This is why it is not surprising to read in the Bangkok Post that the politicized, Cold War-style Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) has issued a “warning on fake and distorted news.” Maj Gen Pirawat Saengthong of ISOC has “revealed” that “photos being forwarded on social media of last week’s royal cremation ceremony are not all what they seem.” Shock! Horror!

The military spook “said some netizens have been sharing photos of a different ceremony.” Shock! Horror!

Facing such a dire situation, the ISOC mouth piece “suggested this could constitute lese majeste.” What is going on here? The Post states:

Maj Gen Pirawat was referring to photos of a royal event in December, 2015. His Majesty the King when he was Crown Prince took part in a ceremony to collect the remains after the funeral of the late supreme patriarch, Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara. The event included a procession, with army troops in parade dress. At a glance, certain photos of the 2015 procession resemble last week’s funeral for King Bhumibol.

The Post is not at all clear on what the general is babbling about. They wonder how this sharing can result in “insults to the monarchy and [puts] national security … at stake…”. It adds that: “His brief talk with the media did not include any indication of the key ingredient of fake news: the positive motive. Unless the persons sharing these photos know they are wrongly captioned, it seems a careless or honest error, without intention to deceive.” It then adds, like everyone else when it comes to the monarchy, trembling with fear: “Of course, any knowing attempt to demean the monarchy should be investigated.”

Noting that ISOC itself has been a purveyor of “fake news” in the past, the Post sees the whole episode as an attempt to censor and threaten the innocents. Of course, that’s the basic point of lese majeste. (The Post also mentions “false information that seemed deliberately spread has occurred for the past seven months after the killing of 17-year-old Chaiyaphum Pasae…”. It could havbe also mentioned dozens more flase stories from stolen 1932 commemoration plaques to various concocted “plots.”)

We believe that the photos ISOC is seeking to repress are those of the king’s girlfriends and “wife” who participated in the events of the funeral.


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4 11 2017
Ultra-royalists on the warpath | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In a post on lese majeste just a few days ago, we observed that the dead king’s funeral provided another opportunity for ultra-royalism to reach yet another high point. Unfortunately, it only took a few days for this to be reinforced. […]

4 11 2017
Ultra-royalists on the warpath | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] In a post on lese majeste just a few days ago, we observed that the dead king’s funeral provided another opportunity for ultra-royalism to reach yet another high point. Unfortunately, it only took a few days for this to be reinforced. […]