Journalism, “national security,” and lese majeste

14 07 2022

Back when PPT was on a break, there were two significant lese majeste arrests reported. The report stated:

Worawet (last name withheld), who runs the Facebook page Free Our Friends, and Nui (pseudonym), who runs the YouTube channel “Sakdina Sua Daeng,” reported to Pathumwan Police Station yesterday (22 March) after receiving a summons on royal defamation and sedition charges under Sections 112 and 116 of the Thai Criminal Code.

In addition to the two charges, they were also charged with resisting officials and refusing to comply with an officer’s order.

These charges resulted from reporting the “activist group Thaluwang’s royal motorcade poll at Siam Paragon on 8 February.” Police considered they “participated” in the event:

The inquiry officer said they were live broadcasting the event, and that participants in the poll were trying to push through a police blockade near Sa Prathum Palace. Nui was also accused of shouting profanities at police officers trying to take hold of a female activist and charged with insulting an official on duty.

The police “did not say how their actions constitute an offense under Sections 112 and 116.”

They were “granted them bail on a security of 200,000 baht each and set the conditions that they do not repeat their offense in a manner that could damage the monarchy, join activities which can cause public disorder, or post on social media invitations to people to join protests. They must also wear electronic monitoring bracelets.”

Photo by Ginger Cat. Clipped from Prachatai

The reason we were reminded of this case was because Prachatai reports a leaked list of activists and reporters who are being “monitored” by the police. This includes a Prachatai journalist. “Monitoring” means police follow those on the list, contact their families, visit their homes, and generally make life as difficult as possible.

That report includes a claim that “at least 6 citizen journalists are now facing charges for livestreaming protests,” and that includes the two mentioned above, facing Article 112 and sedition charges.

The authoritarian shadow is long and dark.



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