Media closure order lifted

Media closure order lifted

Court says ministry provided incorrect information

VoiceTV station in Bangkok. (file photo).
VoiceTV station in Bangkok. (file photo).

The Criminal Court on Wednesday lifted its order for the closure of all online platforms of four media outlets and an anti-government movement, including VoiceTV, saying only illegal content should have been blocked, not the platforms.

The court announced its latest decision on Wednesday afternoon, after a fresh hearing.

On Monday the court granted a request by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to order the closure of the website operated by VoiceTV.  

The ministry obtained similar closure orders for Prachatai, The Reporters, The Standard and the Free Youth movement. The requests concerned content relating to anti-government demonstrations.

The court said that it had ordered the closure of 12 URLs, which happened to result in the closure of the communications channels of the five outlets.

The court blamed the ministry for failing to clearly tell the court that its request would result in the closure of the platforms.

The ministry's presentation to the court had been inaccurate and the court had not received correct information. It had misunderstood that the closure of the URLs would block only the particular content that the ministry had presented.

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 on public administration in emergency situations, which empower the court to block illegal content, but not the communication channels of mass media organisations and people.

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