freedom of the press
21 Apr 2017
The YouTube channel of an anti-junta journalist who fled to the US after the 2014 coup d’état has been blocked from audiences in Thailand. On 20 April 2017, the YouTube channel ‘Jom Voice’ of Jom Petpradab, a veteran journalist now living in self-exile in the US, was found blocked. “[This channel] cannot be watched from your country!” reads the statement on YouTube.
11 Apr 2017
Despite opposition from media groups, the junta is proposing a law to punish unlicensed journalists with two years in prison. On 10 April 2017, Maj Gen Pisit Pao-In, chairman of the media subcommittee of the junta’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), announced that under the new Media Bill, media workers who do not possess official licenses could face two years’ imprisonment, or a fine of 60,000 baht, or both.
4 Apr 2017
BBC Thai has revealed that its controversial biography of King Vajiralongkorn broke records as the site’s most popular story, accumulating millions of views despite the article eventually being censored in Thailand. The biography of Thailand’s new King, published in December last year, has received over 3 million views and counting, revealed Iain Haddow, Executive Editor of BBC Asia, at a public talk on ‘Media Freedom in an Increasingly Authoritarian World’ on 29 March 2017. The biography has had 10 times as many views as the site’s next top performing story.
4 Apr 2017
After a seven-day ban by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Voice TV is back on air, but for the time being there will be no programmes critical of the authorities. After the NBTC 7-day ban came to an end on 4 April 2017, Prateep Kongsib, Director of Voice TV’s news programme, published a statement on the Voice TV website called ‘The Return of Voice TV (Again)’ .
29 Mar 2017
Thai media regulators should immediately reverse their suspension of the operating license of Voice TV and should allow the media to broadcast and publish freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Media regulators today suspended the channel's operating license for seven days.
28 Mar 2017
Thai media associations have voiced opposition to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission decision to temporarily ban Voice TV, saying it should safeguard media freedom rather than bow down to the junta.
9 Mar 2017
The Thai junta has refused to extend a permit for the BBC to run one of its major global transmission stations located in central Thailand. The BBC World Service has stopped broadcasting programmes from its transmission station located in Nakhon Sawan Province. The station had been broadcasting uncensored foreign-language news into authoritarian countries such as North Korea and China, and countries which still rely significantly on radio, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
28 Feb 2017
On 23 February 2017, the Supreme Court sentenced Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a labour and democracy activist turned lèse majesté suspect, to six years in prison, ending his six year struggle against the charge. As a man of principle, Somyot was the first lèse majesté suspect in a decade to choose to fight until the end, rather than pleading guilty for a lighter jail term. Prachatai has gathered 14 facts about the man whose legal battle has sparked debate about Thailand’s controversial lèse majesté law.
23 Feb 2017
After almost six years in prison, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a long-time labour activist turned lèse majesté suspect, was sentenced to six years in jail by the Supreme Court for royal defamation and another year for defaming a military general. At around 10 am on 23 February 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road in Bangkok read the Supreme Court’s verdict for Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, labour activist and former editor of Voice of Taksin magazine indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
1 Feb 2017
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the South East Asia Journalist Unions (SEAJU) join the National Union of Journalist of Thailand (NUJT) in denouncing the draft media regulation bill that will further suppress media in already challenging environment. The IFJ and SEAJU call for the bill to be scrapped immediately.
30 Jan 2017
Leading media organisations throughout the country have joined hands against a controversial media licensing bill that will give the government greater control over the media. On 29 January 2017, representatives of 30 media organisations nationwide issued a joint statement against the controversial Media Reform Bill. Citing the media as a factor in many social problems, the bill outlines moral standards for all forms of media with penalties for non-compliance.
6 Dec 2016
After the arrest of an anti-junta activists accused of lèse majesté for sharing the BBC Thai’s biography of King Rama X, Thai authorities have blocked the article.