Pheu Thai calls for amendments to Referendum Act
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Pheu Thai calls for amendments to Referendum Act

The Pheu Thai Party has issued a statement calling for the government and National Council for Peace and Order to amend Sections 7 and 61 of the Referendum Act of 2016.

The party's demand was made after 10 people were taken into military custody and detained at the 11th Military Circle under Section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution for messages they posted on Facebook.

They were suspected of violating the Computer Crimes Act by posting comments criticising the draft charter, which is scheduled to be put to a public referendum on Aug 7.

The statement, issued on Thursday, said since people's decision whether to vote for or against the draft charter was of high significance, the referendum must be carried out fairly, with full transparency and legitimacy.

The people have the legitimate right to learn of the various opinions regarding the draft charter, and to  debate it widely.

However, while Section 7 of the Referendum Act says the people have the liberty to express and disseminate their opinions, Section 61 prohibits them from using "foul and strong language" to influence other people's decisions. Section 61 also provides for a prison term of up to 10 years for violators.

The prohibitions under Section 61 sharply constrast with Section 7, which is intended to allow free expression of opinions, the statement said.

Therefore, the Pheu Thai Party wanted the government and the NCPO to amend the two sections of the Referendum Act in line with democratic principles.

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