Online contact with regime critics banned

Online contact with regime critics banned

From left, ex-Bangkok journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun. Online contact with any of them could result in charges under the Computer Crime Act. (Photos via Facebook)
From left, ex-Bangkok journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun. Online contact with any of them could result in charges under the Computer Crime Act. (Photos via Facebook)

Authorities have declared it illegal to exchange information on the internet with three prominent government critics wanted on charges of lese majeste.

A letter from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society reported Wednesday at the website of Thai Rath newspaper, and then confirmed by others, requested all citizens not to follow, contact, share or engage in any other activity that would result in sharing information with the three persons.

They are historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun and online journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall. All three live outside Thailand.

The letter says people who spread such information, directly or indirectly, could be violating the country's Computer Crime Act, even unintentionally. This could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years for each contact.

The reason for the letter is not known. All three critics left Thailand years ago, and all are known to be wanted on charges of lese majeste. At least a dozen expatriate Thais are wanted on lese majeste charges, in addition to these three.

Amnesty International early Thursday distributed an emailed criticism of the warning, saying it "shows brazen determination to silence dissent".

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said authorities have "plunged to fresh depths in restricting people’s freedoms of expression".

Pavin Chachavalpongpun (holding sign) and other activists were seen at UN headquarters in New York to denounce the visit of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in September, 2015. A copy of the government's letter is below.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (50)

800,000 speed pills and ketamine seized in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI: More than 800,000 speed pills and 5 kilogrammes of ketamine were found hidden in a border area in Mae Ai district on Saturday, while 40 illegal migrants from Myanmar were caught in Fang district in a separate operation.

19:07

Blackened beach in Rayong off limits to public

Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong is now off limits to the public as a major clean-up continues of an oil spill caused by a leak from an undersea pipeline, provincial governor Charnna Iamsaeng said on Saturday.

18:40

'Nail in the coffin'

Oil fouling Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong could be the “nail in the coffin” for tourism operators already laid low by the pandemic.

18:12