Court does U-turn on media closures
DES 'inaccurately' presented the facts
published : 22 Oct 2020 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Post Reporters
The Criminal Court on Wednesday lifted its order for the closure of online platforms of four media outlets and an anti-government movement, including VoiceTV, saying only illegal content should have been blocked.
On Monday the court granted a request by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) to order the closure of a website operated by VoiceTV.
The DES obtained similar closure orders for Prachatai.com, The Reporters, The Standard and the Free Youth movement.
The requests concerned content relating to anti-government demonstrations.
The court said it had ordered the closure of 12 URLs, resulting in the closure of the communications channels of the five outlets but blamed the ministry for failing to clearly tell it that its request would result in the closure of the platforms.
The ministry's presentation had been inaccurate and the court had not received correct information, it said. It had wrongly interpreted that the closure of the URLs would block only specific content.
The court said Sections 35 and 36 of the constitution prohibited the state from closing mass media to eliminate their freedom to report news, and people's freedom of communication.
It also cited Sections 3 and 20 of the Computer Crime Act and Section 9 of the executive decree, which empower the court to block illegal content but not the communication channels of mass media organisations and people.
Meanwhile, two protest leaders, Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak and Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, were taken to the Criminal Court yesterday as Bangkok police pressed charges against them for their part in the anti-government rally at Sanam Luang on Sept 19.
The two Thammasat University students had been granted bail by Thanyaburi court on Tuesday afternoon, before police took them to the Region 1 Border Patrol Police camp in Pathum Thani's Klong Luang district.
Mr Parit and Ms Panusaya were also wanted on arrest warrants from other police stations for their roles in anti-government rallies in Bangkok and other provinces.
As the pair arrived at the court yesterday to face charges over the Sanam Luang rally, they flashed three-finger salutes and shouted "Down with dictatorship. Long live democracy".
Political science lecturer Prajak Kongkirati tweeted shortly after 2pm: "Police sought to detain them for 12 days but the court allowed 7 days only.
"I and Dr Ekasit Noonpakdi [of the Faculty of Sociology, TU] have applied for bail and are now awaiting a decision."
Suranat Paenprasert, the third protester arrested on a charge of intending to do harm to Her Majesty the Queen's liberty during her motorcade last Wednesday, was taken to the Region 1 Border Patrol police camp for questioning.