Woman in waiting

While Prachatai.com director Chiranuch Premchaiporn is fearful at the thought of spending the rest of her life in jail, she is determined not to let it grind her down

Recently listed by the US-based Newsweek Magazine as amongst the world's 150 Fearless Women, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director of non-profit online newspaper Prachatai.com faces a long prison sentence for not deleting a few defamatory remarks made by others against the monarchy quickly enough from the Prachatai web board.

Charged under the Computer Crimes Act, the verdict in her trial is expected at the end of next month.

Asked if she is really fearless, Chiranuch, 44, grimaces. "No. I am still so fearful," she says without hesitation. "The important thing however is how well we understand fear," she continues, adding that she won't allow fear to dictate her life.

While Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was the only other Thai included on the Newsweek list, news about Chiranuch's trial has not been widely reported in the kingdom.

Chiranuch says this is probably because the Thai mainstream mass media are "paranoid" about reporting anything that has to do with lese majeste. She explains that her trial is also about the intermediary liability for Internet content posted by others. "I don't think Thai media see this dimension of the trial," she says, adding that Westerners recognise it as a threat to freedom on the Internet.

Left-leaning Prachatai has long been known for its critical stance against the mainstream mass media and Chiranuch is not shy about expressing her dismay at how the local media have behaved over the past six years of deep political rift. She says the media have let the public down by not trying to protect their rights to information.

"There's a crisis of faith in the mainstream mass media," she says, sitting at her office desk at Prachatai. "Such deeply partisan political media like ASTV satellite television make no pretence at being impartial so in that sense people know where they are. But many media cross the line and distort information. It's like propaganda."

On the other hand, while some media dwell on the need to reconcile and avoid further political confrontation, Chiranuch sees something positive in the current conflicts. "While there is undoubtedly political hatred in today's society, there's also some truth in what people in saying and I think we are speaking the truth much more often."

She also criticises the mainstream mass media for not trying to explain the ongoing feud over the moves to reform the lese majeste law, pointing out that there has been no competent analysis on the issue, especially in the Thai-language media.

"The two men who punched Worachet in the face don't even know what the problems are with the lese majeste law," she claims, referring to the recent physical attack on Worachet Pakeerut, leader of the Nitirat group of Thammasat law lecturers, which is spearheading an amendment to the law.

But Prachatai is not without its critics. Some believe that because the online newspaper is dependent on US funding, it is a tool of US Imperialism, which aims to undermine the institution of the monarchy and open up the economy and resources to big US corporations.

While discounting the allegation as "an outrageous theory", Chiranuch admits that some 40 to 50 per cent of the funding came from the United States last year. She insists however that these funding sources attach no strings to online content and that Prachathai's dozen staff find local contributors more problematic as they tend to interfere with the agenda.

Chiranuch, who comes from a humble Thai-Chinese background, is also a member of the public campaign committee to amend the lese majeste law. As she awaits her own verdict, she admits to being troubled about the denial of bail to many of those already charged under the law.

"I feel that I have to do something about it. And do it in a straightforward way. It's time society set out to solve the issue."

The trial she is facing has taught her that human rights are not some lofty concept but something tangible. "It lives with me," she said, referring to what her brief arrest and trial has taught her about the lack of freedom of speech.

In just a month's time, she will know her fate. Her case is better known abroad than in Thailand due to foreign media's keen interests on the issue and a string of awards she's received. Chiranuch candidly admits that being put on trial and waiting for the verdict is like having a dark cloud hanging over her head.

"I just try not to allow that cloud influence everything in my life," she says.

It's hard to deny however that that cloud has given her more clout and she readily admits that the new-found publicity has enabled her to meet more people both in Thailand and abroad.

Comments

Interesting that Da Torpedo

Interesting that Da Torpedo who is actually doing very hard jail time and has refused to compromise at all, barely gets any recognition from the NGO-led international community.

We should never forget that while Amnesty and the like have lauded Jiew they have shamefully abandoned Da T to her appalling fate.

Of course Jiew is in a position, internationally, where she could use her "status" to help raise the profile of cases like Da T's.

My question is - when will she?

Da is a hot-head that took to

Da is a hot-head that took to billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra's stage and got what she asked for. She probably doesn't have the operational capacity or leash on her that Chiranuch does via the National Endowment for Democracy and other corporate-fascist interests guiding Thailand's "democracy movement."She most likely is a useful idiot.

Da rotting in jail is very convenient for Thaksin & Co., especially if she is just a useful idiot and not operating with full knowledge that she is betraying her country and that the principles she claims to stand for are merely a facade - Chiranuch on the other hand, operates with full knowledge of these facts...

Chiranuch clearly at this point knows who it is that funds her MILLIONS every year ...

Corporate-fascist Neo-Cons, warmongers, corporate lobbyists, and Soros who is a Wall Street speculator criminal convicted of insider trading - then used "human rights" to appeal the conviction!

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/08/exposed-indy-newspaper-funded-by-us.html

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/11/ned-freedom-house-are-run-by.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-06/soros-loses-human-rights-appeal-against-insider-trading-case.html

Do you think Da knows all of this? Yet, we know for a fact Chiranuch does. The whole movement is a fraud, whether everyone involved knows it or not - and as you see, they'll even rot in jail or potentially lose their lives defending a cause they probably wouldn't stand behind if they had all the facts - facts Prachatai as journalists are charged with exposing but instead spend the summation of their time obfuscating, censoring, denying, and spinning.

Despicable as ever. Tony at

Despicable as ever. Tony at Land Destroyer provides no information on funding. He does link to Infowars.com which is Alex Jones.

Infowars.com accepts advertising from Midas Resources (http://www.midasresources.com/store/store.php?ref=62&promo=specialOffer) which is “One of the world's premiere precious metals firms, parent company of The Genesis Communications Network, proud sponsor of the Campaign For Liberty...”.

Midas Resources was founded in 1996 by Ted Anderson. Ted Anderson and Alex Jones are collaborators, with Jones appearing on the Genesis Communications Network, where Anderson is the CEO (http://www.gcnlive.com/contact.php). It was established to promote the sale of precious metals (http://www.gcnlive.com/faq.php). GCN has interviewed anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche (http://www.larouchepub.com/lar/2008/interviews/080401jack_blood_genesis.html), seen as a political extremist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_LaRouche). LaRouche also has a fan in another link at Land Destroyer in F.W. Engdahl, yet another conspiracy theorist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._William_Engdahl).

Jones and Anderson have promoted conspiracy rants by people associated with the extremist John Birch Society (http://mediamatters.org/blog/201101290003).

Companies linked in these groups, such as Free Speech Systems (http://freespeechsystems.com/) provide no links or information; certainly not practicing what they preach.

Land Destroyer links to a range of other conspiracy theory websites that never provide any details about funding. One of these is to the site of long-time conspiracy theorist Webster Tarpley who has a remarkable Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webster_Tarpley). Another is to anti-fluoride, anti-vaccination, Bin Laden is alive (Alex Jones too), and conspiracy theorist Jim Corr who is also on about the threat or One World Government (http://www.jimcorr.com/).

What a great bunch of fascists and racists. You fit Tony!

Andrew: Your earlier comments

Andrew:
Your earlier comments re. the US Ambassador and my note to her office about that issue have gone unanswered, of course.
I can't speak for Jiew re. Why she doesn't complicate her life further with pro-Da commentaries, but imagine that her plate is already pretty full. As well, I have noted that all Thais I have dealt with, personally or through electronic contact, are reluctant to take this issue of LM right to where it belongs - in court with the State and state agencies, as well as LM supporters and advocates, in the position of defendants in a billion dollar civil suit and defending themselves against well over a dozen criminal charges.
That Nitirat came out and has gone as far as it has, publicly, is an accomplishment in Thai society, but so far has not brought out much except cowards painting themselves as loyalists. Ajarn Sulak's book, Loyalty Demands Dissent, apparently never met their collective gaze.
It is a considered opinion that LM belongs in court, and the agencies and ultra-loyalists that invented it, support it and enforce it all belong in court as defendants. I know someone who will sign on as a plaintiff, but a Thai has got to be in charge.

' Of course Jiew is in a

' Of course Jiew is in a position, internationally, where she could use her "status" to help raise the profile of cases like Da T's.

' My question is - when will she? '

I think Chiranuch's "status" with the media types is worth McLuhan's 15 minutes... probably 5 minutes these days as "inflation" has increased the speed of operation of the media mill just as it has decreased consumers attention spans. And such "status" with the liberal types who cluck, cluck... and immediately forget about it is something I imagine that Chiranuch knows cannot be deposited in any kind of bank... it has no real worth.

It's a bit over-the-top for you to be prescribing to Chiranuch, who has real skin in the game, from your cushy seat in the peanut gallery of British Academe, isn't it? I guess it just goes with the territory.

Chris Hedges is talking bout

Chris Hedges is talking bout his own experiences, the latest in relation to his attmept to strike down the US NDAA which gives the US military arbirary power to imprison citizens on the grounds of National Security. As the military has had for years here in Thailand via the lese majeste persecutions...

Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law. They make legal what was once illegal. Crimes become patriotic acts. The defense of freedom and truth becomes a crime. Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security. We obey the new laws as we obeyed the old laws, as if there was no difference. And we spend our energy and our lives appealing to a dead system.

Franz Kafka understood the totalitarian misuse of law, the ability by the state to make law serve injustice and yet be held up as the impartial arbiter of good and evil. In his stories “The Trial” and “The Castle” Kafka presents pathetic supplicants before the law who are passed from one doorkeeper, administrator or clerk to the next in an endless and futile quest for justice.

In the parable “Before the Law” the supplicant dies before even being permitted to enter the halls of justice.

In Kafka’s dystopian vision, the law is the mechanism by which injustice and tyranny are perpetuated. A bureaucratic legal system uses the language of justice to defend injustice. The cowed populations in tyrannies become for Kafka so broken, desperate and passive that they are finally complicit in their own enslavement.

The central character in “The Trial,” known as Josef K, offers little resistance at the end of the story when two men arrive to oversee his execution. Josef K. leads them to a quarry where he is expected to kill himself. He cannot. The men do it for him. His last words are: “Like a dog!”

That is what they have in mind for us in the US and in Thailand.

JFL Just my thoughts and my

JFL

Just my thoughts and my opinions. No "prescription". Was an attempt to take the discussion a little bit further.

That view stands. While I support Jiew and her struggle to stay out of prison, Da T, for me, is the real "brave woman" who has had to endure her struggle with almost no support from anyone and barely gets mentioned. The fact she has had to also endure that without hardly any proper medical care is a clear cut human rights abuse.

So, for me, to single one person out for all the accolades, all the "hero" status, is like an X Factor of political and human rights struggle.

This has been one of the major criticisms of the ASSK factor in Burma - she gets a million column inches and a 1000 interviews while almost every other political prisoner gets ignored.

And. at the moment, and over the last months, I've not been in the "peanut gallery" in the "British academe".

Not that it is any of your business, but in fact in December to Feb I spent considerable time in the Bangkok remand prison talking to LM prisoners.

And even if I hadn't that would have no relevance or bearing whatsoever on the holding of my opinion on this matter. Please discuss the issues I raise not a partial analysis of my geographical location.

Spooner - that column space

Spooner - that column space for Aung San Suu Kyi was well paid for by the US and British governments who literally built up both Suu Kyi and her fake opposition movement as well as the personality cult surrounding her.

If there are real parties in Myanmar interested in progress we'll never hear about them - instead we'll hear about the West's efforts to block joint Mynamar-Chinese development so that when the day comes and the West gets their puppet into power in Naypyidaw, the resources will go in full to Wall Street and London - not a penny for the local people beyond what is necessary to keep them under-boot.

That's a fact - and Chiranuch is likewise a foreign funded shill, a habitual liar and deceiver and to grant her and her "Prachatai" front any credibility is done so at the expense of the entire cause of progress and reform.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/11/burmese-pro-democracy-movement-creation.html

The naivety exhibited here, or perhaps the willful deceit backing this entire "movement" in Thailand - which is clearly a foreign-backed political movement aimed at domination, not progress is truly a testament of how far we as a species still needs to go.

Progress is putting roofs over people's heads, giving them proper/useful educations in skills that allow them to shape and master the world around them, and real empowerment through technical, not political means. Everything else will follow in due time - you cannot give people "rights" and "freedoms" before giving them self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and true independence from any form of political, social, or economic exploitation.

' Of course Jiew is in a

' Of course Jiew is in a position, internationally, where she could use her "status" to help raise the profile of cases like Da T's.

' My question is - when will she? '

That was the issue you raised.

I certainly agree that Da has born the brunt of the abuse so far. I think it's good that you are in Bangkok and talking to the remand prisoners. I send Da what I can every month. We're all doing what we can. Chiranuch not least of all. She certainly owes me nothing.

Nothing anyone says or does... outside of H.E. Yingluck Shinawatra who has before her a request to apply for Da's and seven other political prisoners' pardon... will have the slightest effect on Da's Inquisitors.

I have no prescriptions for Chiranuch. I'm thankful for what she's done and continues to do. The 'status' accorded to Aung San Sui Kyi or to Chiranuch or to the anyone else by the MSM is utterly bogus hype and exploitation. It sickens like the plague and kills in the end cases, as if did in poor Michael Jackson's and many others. It's a curse, not a benefit, of no use to anyone but those who 'bestow' and exploit it.

Wow, Prachatai receiving more

Wow, Prachatai receiving more support from corporate-fascists from the West - this time the propaganda rag "Newsweek."

And notice something Pravit fails to mention - the fact that her entire operation is funded and directed by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/08/exposed-indy-newspaper-funded-by-us.html

- which is clearly run by Neo-Cons, warmongers, and corporate-fascists who make a mockery out of human rights and representative governance as well as the criminal Wall Street billionaire George Soros and his "Open Society Institute" which also disingenuously leverages human rights for his own self-serving agenda...

Case in point: Soros just lost an appeal in France over an insider trading conviction upon which he attempted to defend himself on grounds that his "human rights" were violated. No, really, he did! Sound familiar?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-06/soros-loses-human-rights-appeal-against-insider-trading-case.html

So when you defend someone so obviously compromised like Prachatai and CHiranuch who is a traitor, a liar, guilty of violating the same principles she claims to stand against...

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/us-funded-rights-advocate-censoring.html

.... confirmed by Pravit himself!!! Yet Pravit is still defending her? Something doesn't smell right - like why Pravit would admit Prachatai is censoring on their own "free speech" advocacy website yet still come out with these ridiculous defenses and sob stories for a foreign-funded propagandist - or why in a world with so much going on Pravit only manages to carry on about 112 which is ONLY being used against Thaksin's cohorts. Maybe its all those Soros-funded fellowships Pravit took part in...

I appreciate why Tony hides

I appreciate why Tony hides behind anonymity. Calling someone openly a traitor and liar is libel and worthy of court action.

Frank - Chiranuch not only is

Frank - Chiranuch not only is a traitor, but is a liar, a fraud, and a hypocrite who has been caught not only censoring my comments but also caught LYING ABOUT IT. That was CONFIRMED by Pravit himself - who seems to have not only forgotten that during his pandering-patronizing interview with her - but also failed to bring up the very real funding Chiranuch receives and has ALSO hid for years from the National Endowment for Democracy - a documented cartel of corporate fascist, big-business special interests, overt warmongers, Neo-Cons and an immense fraud in and of themselves.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/us-funded-rights-advocate-censoring.html

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/08/exposed-indy-newspaper-funded-by-us.html

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/11/ned-freedom-house-are-run-by.html

And you Frank are a suspicious character yourself either denying, spinning, ignoring or excusing what is clearly UNACCEPTABLE behavior for both journalists and activists. You, well beyond anything I could ever hope to achieve, has destroyed your credibility with your flip-flopping and inability to equally apply your principles beyond the narrow band of political enemies you hammer away at. Progressive you're not.

JFL Yeah, that's the question

JFL

Yeah, that's the question I raised. But it's not a prescription. Just a question.

And if someone takes on a public profile then things change for them - whether they like it or not, whether it was asked for or not.

Personally, and this is just my opinion, I would love to see Jiew say next time she gets an award "I dedicate this award to all the people who are in prison in Thailand right now and suffering under Thailand's unjust LM laws".

That's just what she has said

That's just what she has said on the last two occasions that she has received 'awards', in my memory. You could look it up.

The person who needs to speak up is Yingluck Shinawatra. She has a request on her desk from 8 political prisoners asking that she request their pardon from His Mercifulness.

Perhaps, in your role as media director, you might lend her some of your attention?

tony is himself a liar, as I

tony is himself a liar, as I highlighted some time ago regarding utterly baseless accusations he made against the Crown Estate, a prominent British organisation. My challenge then that he substantiate the accusations was met only with waffle, dissembling and the personal abuse which is his trademark.

His contributions to this or indeed any website are worthless and best ignored.

Removing some of Tony's

Removing some of Tony's malicious comments from time to time can hardly be called censorship.

But some of them like his venomous spat above should be kept as a deterrent example.

Again - Pravit himself,

Again - Pravit himself, before carrying out this ludicrous, patronizing-pandering interview admitted that he was in direct communication with Chiranuch and that she openly admitted that she was censoring comments on her own "free speech" advocacy site - and that Pravit did not condone this.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/us-funded-rights-advocate-censoring.html

He seems to have completely forgotten about that, and while he eludes to the idea of "conspiracy theories" revolving around Prachatai - he never bothers addressing the very real, hypocritical, indefensible funding Prachatai accepts from some of the most craven corporate fascist warmongers on earth - including the Neo-Con-run National Endowment for Democracy and convicted criminal George Soros.

The waffling I see here by people claiming they stand for transparency and freedom of speech, and then turning right around and calling for censorship and banning unpopular speech for their own benefit exposes just how fraudulent not only Prachatai is, but this whole fake "democracy" movement.