Connect with us

Medias

Online journalist countersues in response to charges linked to lèse majesté cases

Avatar

Published

on

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the complaint that online journalist Frank G. Anderson filed criminal charges on 20 March against two men who have accused him of defaming them in online articles about the lèse majesté charges they have had brought against many Thai citizens. As far as we know, this is the first time that a journalist has countersued in response to lèse majesté-linked charges.

“We have long been condemning the abuse of  lèse majesté charges for political ends, which restricts free expression in Thailand,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This counter-accusation that a journalist facing a criminal defamation suit has brought against his accusers will be a major test for the Thai judicial system. It should act with objectivity and use this opportunity to send a warning to all those who use lèse majesté and defamation charges to intimidate journalists.”

A US citizen resident in the northeastern city of Korat, Anderson was summoned by the Bangkok police in February and again a few days ago in response to criminal defamation charges brought against him by Akbar Khan, a British consultant resident in Thailand, and Police Lt. Col. Wattanasak Mungkitkarndee, over articles about them that he posted on his news website, The Korat Post, in December 2008. According to police, the criminal defamation charges were first lodged with Thailand’s crime suppression division.

Anderson’s articles criticized the lèse majesté charges they have brought against journalists such as former BBC correspondent Jonathan Head and government opponents such as Jakrapop Penkair because there was no proof to support their accusation and because lèse-majesté allegations conflict with the king’s own statements that he is not above criticism.

Since filing their complaints against Anderson in December 2008 and March 2009, neither Khan nor the police colonel has tried to contact him to request the withdrawal of the offending articles. Anderson nonetheless did remove the articles after learning of the complaints. Now he is countersuing under articles 137, 172 and 179 of the Thai criminal code, accusing Khan and Wattanasak of making false allegations to state officials and unlawfully exaggerating seriousness of alleged offense.

Meanwhile, Thai distributors of the London-based Economist magazine have canceled distribution of its 18 March issue, which contains a long article entitled “As father fades, his children fight” analyzing the impact of the king’s hospitalization and the royal succession problem on the current political crisis.

According to Reuters, it is the fourth time the Economist has been censored, or has had to censor itself, since December 2008. In other words, the magazine is one more victim of the use of the threat of  lèse majesté charges to harass the media.

At least 10 Internet users and journalists have been the target of  lèse majesté prosecutions. One of them, blogger Suwicha Thakor, is currently serving a 10-year jail sentence that he received on 3 April 2009. He was arrested by police on Jan 14, 2009, in his hometown Nakhon Phanom in the northeast, and charged with committing offences that included sending pictures offensive to the king and the heir apparent via the internet. He insists he has never criticized the king.

Thailand is on the list of “countries under surveillance” in the report on “Enemies of the Internet” that Reporters Without Borders released on 12 March.

Lucie Morillon Reporters Without Borders Head of the New Media Desk

[email protected]

Comments

Medias

Thai Army Denies Twitter Claims on Spread of Propaganda

Twitter’s blockage of the 926 accounts came two weeks after Thailand brought police complaints against Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for not fully complying with court orders to take down content on their platforms deemed defamatory to Thailand’s royalty

Bahar Karaman

Published

on

Thailand’s army on Friday denied links with around a 1,000 Twitter accounts that the social media company blocked a day earlier saying the military was using them to spread propaganda and target the opposition.

(more…)
Continue Reading

Medias

How Covid-19 triggered a 125% surge in media consumption in Thailand

Globally speaking, the early months of the pandemic saw a dramatic increase in the amount of time people spent accessing information about current events.

Oxford Business Group

Published

on

The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to an ongoing surge in media consumption, as people around the world seek to remain updated on the rapidly changing crisis.

(more…)
Continue Reading

Medias

The TikTok Strategy: Using AI Platforms to Take Over the World

Hugely popular with teenagers and millennials, TikTok – known as DouYin in China – is a social media application used for creating and sharing short videos. Lasting 15 seconds or less, the typical clip features fun music, a skit, lip-sync, dance or light-hearted humour.

Avatar

Published

on

A curious combination of prediction-technology and human censors enables ByteDance to create a dynamic global video ecosystem.

(more…)
Continue Reading

Latest

Most Viewed

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13,609 other subscribers

Trending