Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reuters: Thailand Plans Tougher Lese Majeste Law

By Nopporn Wong-Anan

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand, which strictly enforces laws protecting the monarchy, plans to extend protection to royal advisers and other members of the royal family and restrict media coverage of cases, lawmakers said on Monday.

Under the proposed amendments, to be debated by the army-appointed parliament on Wednesday, journalists could be jailed for three years and fined 60,000 baht ($1,750) for ignoring a court-ordered publication ban.

"We don't want any offence to the monarch to be repeated in the news or become an issue of any criticism" inside or outside Thailand, Supreme Court chief judge Pornpetch Wichitcholchai told Reuters.

Those protected by the expanded law would include sons and daughters of the monarch and royal advisers known as privy councillors, Pornpetch said.

"The current law doesn't cover privy councillors, some of whom have become political victims," he said.

Last month, the government threatened to block clips on video-sharing Web site YouTube that accused chief royal adviser Prem Tinsulanonda of masterminding last year's bloodless coup.

Such allegations against Prem have been made by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during demonstrations and denied repeatedly by the generals and government they appointed.


The specific singling out of journalists who publish anything other than royalist propaganda is truly frightening. So under the new proposed law, the media can't write or broadcast anything critical of the Privy Council.

Hell, why stop there? Why not make it illegal to criticize Na Ayutthaya's, bureaucrats and military personnel or anybody who can claim to be a political victim anywhere in the world?

Of course, the Thai media will cave to this law. It is cowardly and incompetent already.

1 comment:

Yeti said...

Are the NLA members at the origin of this proposal known for being hard liners?