On Monday the Ratchaburi Court acquitted a Prachatai journalist and the other four activists for campaigning against the junta's charter. After the verdict, many people congratulated Prachatai and said that the fact that the court dismissed the case is a victory of the pro-democracy movement. I however disagree. The verdict is actually a bad sign for freedom of expression in Thailand.
If you asked me if the decision by a military prosecutor to drop the lèse majesté charge against renowned historian and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa is good news, I’d say, ‘yes it’s good that the old man does not have to spend time in jail’. But if you asked me if this is a good sign for the state of freedom of expression in Thailand, I’d say ‘no, it’s not.’
Last week, a court in Yala sentenced Nurhayati Masoh, a blind woman, to one year and six months in prison for royal defamation. The person who filed the complaint against her is Phiphatanachai Sakawi, who is also a blind and the president of the Blind Society Association of Thailand. Pipathanachai tells Prachatai that Nuruhayati's crime has damaged the reputation of blind people in Thailand.
Note: This piece was a response to the 10 February release and dismissal of charges against Jaruwan, Anon, and Chat, three people accused of creating a Facebook book page with l