Ultra royalists' threats forced Thai PBS to stop airing 'Tob Jote'

Censorship was blatantly at work for all to see at Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) last Friday night when it abruptly cancelled the promised airing of the fifth and last episode of a much-anticipated debate on the monarchy.

Some 30 ultra-royalists threatened to take matters into their own hands and bring in 500 more protesters if the station failed to pull the plug on the programme, called "Tob Jote" (Answering Question), which was moderated by well-known freelance TV host Pinyo Traisuriyathamma.
 
Protesters said both social critic Sulak Sivaraksa and Thammasat University historian Somsak Jiamteerasakul were causing "division" in society by talking critically about the monarchy on air. 
 
In the words of one highly placed source from Thai PBS who spoke to this writer under the condition of anonymity, protesters questioned why Thai PBS brought in two well-known critics of the lese majeste law to discuss the issue on television. 
 
"It's like they're discussing and consulting with one another on how to overthrow the monarchy," the source told this writer.
 
Some were wearing T-shirts with the message "Operational Mode Love Father", in reference to the belief amongst most royalists that HM the King is like the father of the whole nation. The same Thai PBS source added that some protesters were sobbing and teary.
 
"They were born [under HM the King and he's] like the Buddha, whom they love. It's that much," the source observed.
 
In cyberspace on Friday night, some disturbing messages were posted. One protester made a threat: "By 9.30pm, if the reply is that no matter what the station will go on airing the programme, I told myself that I would punch the mouth of the person who delivered the message and thrash their chairs."
 
Pinyo eventually announced that he would cease producing the programme for Thai PBS. He cited a need to preserve the principle of press freedom above all else and demanded that the station's management explain to the public how they had a last-minute change of heart despite his programme receiving prior consent by the station's policy committee.
 
The two guest speakers and its TV host were willing to submit themselves to the risk of being accused of violating the lese majeste law on national television. They had taken risks and Pinyo must be commended for having invited the two. However, the station's management failed to uphold the public's right to be critically informed about the monarchy institution.
 
While last Friday was another setback for freedom of expression, in a twist of irony, it became a blatant and effective demonstration of how even Thai public television eventually caved in to censorship demands by ultra-royalists.
 
Nothing that either Sulak, Somsak or even Pinyo could ever have said, could have more concretely and convincingly proved to the public the existence of a culture of censorship, and self-censorship, on anything critical of the monarchy than what these ultra-royalists and Thai PBS management did last week.
 
What the ultra-royalists did, and the subsequent decision taken under pressure by Thai PBS, made evident the complex working of censorship and self-censorship that went beyond legal barriers from the lese majeste law and the Computer Crimes Act (CCA). The most disturbing form of censorship is one that is maintained by individuals without receiving instructions from anyone.
 
Groups like "Operational Mode Love Father" have become modern-day enforcers of censorship. They try to set the limits on what Thais should or can discuss on television.
 
It's now up to all of us to decide whether we will choose to submit to their whim or insist on struggling for freedom of expression with fortitude. Each of us may have a different answer, but we cannot avoid making a decision. 
 
Source: http://nationmultimedia.com/politics/Ultra-royalists-threats-forced-Thai-PBS-to-stop-ai-30202354.html

Comments

The Thai Extreme Royalists

The Thai Extreme Royalists are our very own version of the Taliban. We are so blessed that they are willing to protect us all from bad words and thoughts.

Language and Freedom We have

Language and Freedom

We have ... reached a point in history when it is possible to think seriously about a society in which freely constituted social bonds replace the fetters of autocratic institutions ...

Predatory capitalism created a complex industrial system and an advanced technology; ... but ... It is incapable of meeting human needs that can be expressed only in collective terms, and its concept of competitive man who seeks only to maximize wealth and power, who subjects himself to market relationships, to exploitation and external authority, is antihuman and intolerable in the deepest sense. ...

If in fact humans are indefinitely malleable, completely plastic beings, with no innate structures of mind and no intrinsic needs of a cultural or social character, then they are fit subjects for the “shaping of behavior” by the state authority, the corporate manager, the technocrat, or the central committee. Those with some confidence in the human species ... will try to determine the intrinsic human characteristics that provide the framework for intellectual development, the growth of moral consciousness, cultural achievement, and participation in a free community. ...

[W]e might in this way develop a social science based on empirically well-founded propositions concerning human nature. ... try to study the forms of artistic expression or, for that matter, scientific knowledge that humans can conceive, and perhaps even the range of ethical systems and social structures in which humans can live and function, given their intrinsic capacities and needs. ...

In view of this consideration, ... it seems as if all peasants and craftsmen might be elevated into artists; that is, men who love their labour for its own sake, improve it by their own plastic genius and inventive skill, and thereby cultivate their intellect, ennoble their character, and exalt and refine their pleasures. ... freedom is undoubtedly the indispensable condition, ...

Whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very being, but remains alien to his true nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness.

"It's now up to all of us to

"It's now up to all of us to decide whether we will choose to submit to their whim or insist on struggling for freedom of expression with fortitude."

What form, apart from opeds, seminars and academic discussion, will this struggle take?

Would Pravit himself be prepared to do some form of civil disobedience as the Red Shirts did before - paying with their lives - in order to secure Pravit and all Thais the right to vote for their own government?

Or will he let others go to prison while he seeks celebrity activist status?

Be good to know.

The Campaign Committee for

  1. The Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112,
  2. The 24th of June for Democracy,
  3. Saeng Samnuk Writer Club,
  4. Poets for People,
  5. Patinya Na San, and the
  6. Nitirassadorn

have just opened discussion of the recent controversial court decisions with an open letter to judges in Thailand.

I hope the hard-right reactionaries don't set their goons on people trying to discuss and work through these problems ... again. Violent and irrational behavior seems to be the precedent with the ultra-royalists in Thailand.

"I hope the hard-right

"I hope the hard-right reactionaries don't set their goons on people trying to discuss and work through these problems ... again".

So is the implication that anyone who attempts a pertinent critique of the failings of the anti-LM movement is a "hard-right reactionary"?

Seems very ad hom to me.

As for the list - nearly all are talking shops (important though they might be) that appeal to a very small, limited constituency. That LM is an attack on basic liberties is long established and saying the same things about this issue over and over without any plan about how to take things further is pretty futile and exposes people to arrest, intimidation and threat.

There will be NO change in the LM law until the govt is confronted with a broader base against it. That's a simple and basic truth.

Somsak has done a great job in keeping the issue of LM/monarchy alive but, ultimately, it won't prove to be enough.

The goons and thugs are not

The goons and thugs are not figurative they are very real ... goons and thugs ... who punch-up, kidnap ... disappear ... torture, murder those they view as a threat to 'elite' rule. This is Thailand.

I certainly agree that

"There will be NO change in the LM law until the govt is confronted with a broader base against it."

That is the only hope ... worldwide ... we are many and they are few.

But frankly, JFArmy, neither you nor I nor anyone on this English language venue has much to say about the matter. We express our solidarity, our outrage, and try to encourage I suppose ... but we speak to a disappearingly small portion of the Thai people ... and to lecture individual Thai activists on how best to go about their business ... to call them to task ... just seems beyond silly to me.

Push comes to shove ... we're off to Farang land, aren't we? Or to somewhere else. We're settlers here, not natives, when our situation is plainly described.

Or are you going to be manning the barricades? Is that what your new moniker signifies? Are you out for blood?

Real blood is spilt in Thailand. Real lives are lost. The 'elite' minority is brutal ... nothing is beyond them when they feel they are losing their grip. The shadow of the Royal Thai military assassins is long indeed. They murdered ninety just two years ago. Junya counted more than 10,000 lives they've taken since 1947 ... literally during my lifetime. At least 154 Thais murdered during each of my 65 years. One Thai life taken every other day of mine just to keep the Thai 'elite' in power, in defense of the status quo. And Junya's just scratched the surface. The Thai people certainly know what they are up against.

I am not the one to exhort them to reckless action to ... suit my fancy. I've no skin in their game. I certainly sympathize with their plight and believe they will prevail. But I've no criticism of the tactics of those whose lives can be forfeit to the 'elite' ... to the immune, unaccountable, murderous 'elite' ... in a literal heartbeat.

I have said many times, I

I have said many times, I will be more than happy to join in a class action suit against these people who are ultra-royalists, but the suit needs to be filed by a Thai who is not a Red Shirt if at all possible. As well, this group will need some money. Since the royalists, who have, apparently, more than Thaksin, are not going to be defeated with good intentions and justice alone. There is a saying - "Freedom is not free." Truer words cannot be spoken or written. It is paid with a price, many times a heavy one with blood and death, because narrow minded charlatans...I could go on with apt descriptions of these righteous wreckers of humanity...want to keep hold of power and you and me down.
Sue. Sue. Sue. Even the PAD keep saying that, albeit in Thai. Maybe they have poetically told everyone how to defeat their ilk by using that English word!

Sued criminal and civil. And

Sued criminal and civil. And for civil damages, at least 1 trillion Baht.

What is the Thai link, and

What is the Thai link, and what are the links for the Thai groups referenced?
Thank you!

I'm sorry Frank ... I saw

I'm sorry Frank ... I saw notice of the open letter at PPT which linked to the letter itself at คณะนิติราษฎร์.

googling

Section 112 hurts more than

Section 112 hurts more than helps monarchy

In no way was the content of this series derogatory, slanderous or even remotely offensive or divisive by any stretch of the imagination. However, not scrapping the last instalment of the series even under duress demonstrated that Thai PBS can be an arena for free and passionate debates and could hopefully function as an effective check on governments, when it seems other media outlets have failed dismally in this role.

I strongly disagreed with Dr Surakiart and Pol Gen Vasit Dejkunjorn's position on the contentious Section 112 on lese majeste. Dr Surakiart's wants to keep in place Section 112 ... while Pol Gen Vasit implied that anyone who wants to revise Section 112 is actually a treasonous, conniving, abolitionist ...

It is this kind of delusion that has done more harm than good for the monarchy by shielding this institution from reality, while hurling accusations of treason against those who value the monarchy just as much as him but merely want to see this beloved institution adapt and survive by coming to grips with the ever changing political and social landscape of Thailand.

Pol Gen Vasit infers that anyone who wants to abolish Section 112 also wants to abolish the monarchy. He is dead wrong, because I and many others consider ourselves the King's loyal subjects but we're equally as staunch in our objection to Section 112.

Section 112 is an abomination to our democracy and has been used as the weapon of choice for politicians to rid themselves of arch rivals at the expense of His Majesty's good name. ...

In reality they were despicably using the monarchy ... in an attempt to destroy the bastion of support of a formidable political opponent in Thaksin. Those hoping Pheu Thai would keep to election promises once in power by reviewing Section 112 have also been bitterly disappointed by the spineless nature of our politicians.

Monarchies ... can only survive with the acceptance and appreciation of the sovereign's subjects. Those ... who ingratiate themselves by shielding the institution from the realities of a new age should be looked upon with lingering suspicion.

The Ministry of Information has read the handwriting on the wall and is trying to cut its losses ...