Friday, May 25, 2007

Bangkok Post Editorial: Opposes New Cyber Crime Bill



Bangkok Post


Not only does the bill threaten the freedoms of individuals and media organisations with disproportionate jail sentences for vaguely determined crimes, it also hands broad-ranging powers of surveillance and access to communications systems to "competent officials". Such laws violate privacy rights and are used as a stick to threaten individuals and media organisations into practising self-censorship.

The laws also do not allow for sufficient judicial oversight for the exercise of powers that intrude on the right to privacy and freedom of expression. Such power in the hands of any government without sufficient judicial scrutiny are unacceptable in a free and democratic society. And given the political instability of the country at present, these laws represent a very real danger to the future of democracy and freedom in Thailand.

The current Cyber Crime Bill should not be accepted by the public or politicians. The fact that it sailed through with a 119:1 vote in the military-appointed assembly is cause for considerable unease.

Such a wide-ranging bill that poses significant concerns deserves the scrutiny of an elected parliament. The current assembly does not have the mandate to introduce such laws and should be reminded of that fact.

I agree with this editorial, of course, but the Bangkok Post is a little too late. It should have been paying attention when the bill was being written.

If this bill does go through, it will be bad for the country in so many ways. I'm not only thinking about now or the next few years, but worried for the future.

We are still feeling the effects of the various other draconian laws written during previous military dictatorships.

Now, we have this law as well on top of all the other bad media laws.

Believe me when I say that this new cyber law will be used to censor political speech just like the other laws do when it comes to broadcast media and the print press.

The intent of the law is to censor and intimidate, as well as criminalize political opposition.

In the end, the results will be that we will have crap news in cyber space, just like we have crap news on TV and horrible newspapers that care nothing about real news. Why not make the internet a clone of the Thai media--dimwitted models in whore makeup, bad dramas, moronic game shows, sports, royalist propaganda, katoeys, and brainless news readers-- and nobody gets hurt?

It is disheartening to see Thailand choose the China, Vietnam and Arab world route regarding censorship. This is 2007. And after all the things that happened in the last century, it disgusts me that people willingly choose totalitarianism over political freedom.

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