2014 junta's reform
Two weeks ago, the whip committee of the junta’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) temporarily rejected the Protection of Media Rights and Freedom, Ethics and Professional Standards Bill, following strong opposition from the 30 media organisations.
As a model for its ongoing reconciliation efforts, the Thai junta will follow the amnesty programme for communists implemented during the Cold War. The Thai government has made political reconciliation a policy priority, to resolve chronic unrest between different political movements. Plans include a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed by various political parties and movements in acknowledgement of a promise to build peaceful relationships with each other.
If legislation passes, suspects and prisoners accused of lèse majesté and corruption will no longer be eligible for political amnesty.
Thailand’s junta head has accused human right defenders and pro-democracy activists of wanting to be prosecuted as a way to discredit the military regime internationally. On 28 September 2016, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta premier, stated that the junta’s various laws limiting freedom of expression do not affect the majority of Thai people. Rather, the few who violate these laws merely want to be prosecuted so they can discredit the junta on the world stage.
12 civil society organisations based in Thailand’s Northeast have condemned the junta’s suppression of freedom of expression, stating that national reform is only a pretence to enable the junta