Former Thai senators call on government to stop blocking and manipulating media

Statement from Former Thai Senators (2000-2006)*, “Demanding the government to stop blocking media channels and using the state-run media to present one-sided information on the crackdown of the demonstration on April 10, 2010”

The crackdown of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) demonstration by the government security forces under the Emergency Decree on April 10, 2010 has resulted in 24 deaths of demonstrators and soldiers, more than 800 injured and many went missing. Not only have we yet to hear a straightforward and credible explanation of this tragic event from the Government, we have also seen unreasonable blockade of voices from the UDD side. Hundreds of community radios, TV stations, websites and SMS, which the government branded as “Red-shirted media” including the satellite-based People Channel television station (PTV) and Thairednews have been shut down by the Government.
 
Worse, the Government has used state-owned televisions as well as private channels (such as TNN) to provide one-sided information to deny its responsibility for the tragic violence and pass the blame onto the demonstrators who simply exercise their constitutional rights to demand a fresh election by Parliament dissolution.
 
Such media control by the Government and concerned agencies (especially the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES), the Royal Thai Army, the Public Relations Department, TV channel 11 (NBT), TV channel 3, 5, 7, 9 and Thai PBS), is a serious violation of people’s basic rights under the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.
 
In the name of members of the Senate 2000-2006 undersigned, we urge Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Democrat Party, the rest coalition parties as well as media professionals who appeared to have acceded and cooperated with the Government in providing biased information about the April 10, 2010 crackdown, to show responsibilities for the acts that led to the great loss of Thai people as follows;
 
1. To immediately cancel the State of Emergency and related legal instruments in the name of national security as the said declaration and the enforcement is an unlawful act under the Constitution and laws.
 
2. Stop all the obstruction of public information flows and news reports presented in print media, radio and TV stations, telecommunications, the Internet and all other kind of media, in order to return the constitutional rights to information and expression to the people.
 
3. We urge media institutions and media professionals to uphold highest professional ethics by providing fact and giving equal opportunities for all concerned parties to present their information and evidence. It should stop allowing one-sided information and evidence from the government.
 
Last but not least we, members of the Senate 2000-2006, express our political stance here that we consider the demonstrators demanding for the House Dissolution as an exercise of rights to demonstration in order to express their political views according to laws and democratic system under the constitutional monarchy as guaranteed in sections 3, 7, 26, 28-30,37, 39-41, 44 and 65 of the 1997 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Please note here that we do not recognize the present Constitution (2007) which is the legacy of coup d’etat). A deprivation and violation of these rights to freedom by unlawfully using the State of Emergency Decree, therefore, is a humiliation of human dignity. This violation against people’s rights to freedom is an abuse of the state power and hence justifies the people’s invocation of natural rights to uprise against the rulers who use injustice power to govern the country as President Abraham Lincoln states: 
 
 "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.” By Abraham Lincoln
 
* Former Senators 2000-2006
Panat Tasneeyanond (Tak)
Napinthon Srisanpang (Ratchaburi)
Wiboon Shamsheun (Kalasin)
Montri Sinthawichai (Samut-songkram)
Sawai Phramanee (Nakhon Ratchasima)
Boontan Dokthaisong (NakhonRatchasima)
Prakiat Nasimma (Roi Et)
Surachai Danaitangtrakul (Roi Et)
Boonya Leelead (Songkhla)
Sompong Sakawee (Songkhla)
Khampan Pongpan (Udon Thani)
Somkiat Soralam (Nakhon Sawan)
Gen. Manas Aramsri (Suphanburi)
Prateep Ungsongtham Hata (Bangkok)
Sb-Lt. Amnuay Thaiyanont (Prachuapkhirikhan)
Porn Penpas (Buriram)
Pol.Gen. Wirun Fuensaeng. (Chiang Rai)
Adul Wanchaitanawong (Mae Hong Son)
Thaworn Kiatchaiyakorn (Chiang Mai)
Kamnuan Chalopathump (Sing Buri)
Pha Aksornsua (Khon Kaen)
Amorn Nilprem (Ubon Ratchathani)
Manu Vanitchanont (Surat Thani)
Nanthana Songpracha (Chainat)
Anuchart Banchongsupamitr (Uttaradit)
Paiboon Upatising (Phuket)
Sutat Chansaengsri (Petchabun)
Niwet Pancharoenvorakul (Ayutthaya)
Srimuang Charoensiri (Mahasarakham)