The National Library of Thailand has notified the police to take legal action against Same Sky magazine because it has not been registered and its content may constitute lèse majesté. The editor insists on publishing, and thanks the National Library for helping advertise his magazine.
On 13 Sept, Wilawan Sapphansan, Director of the National Library of Thailand, notified the Police Special Branch to take legal action against the magazine for not having been registered under the 2007 Print Registration Act and for its content, which might constitute lèse majesté.
Thanaphol Ewsakul, editor of Same Sky magazine, laughingly told Prachatai on 14 Sept, ‘Thanks [to the National Library] for helping advertise our magazine,’ adding that this action would not affect its sales and publication.
‘So far, major book stores like Nai Intr, Chulalongkorn Book Centre, B2S, and SE-ED have refused to sell our magazine anyway. So this will have no effect. Fundamentally, the right and freedom of publication have nothing to do with regulations. Readers read the content, and do not care if our magazine is registered or not,’ he said.
It was his intention not to register the magazine because he disagreed with having such a law.
‘We deliberately did not register it, because we think the right and freedom of publication is one of the fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms. And the [2007 Print Registration] law does not make sense,’ he said.
He believed that this move was political, as there were many magazines which were not registered and were not targeted.
He insisted he would continue publication. And he explained the 6-month delay in the latest edition of the quarterly magazine was due to problems with the production process, not political problems.
‘The next edition will be on time, within the fourth quarter of this year,’ he said placidly.
Regarding the lèse majesté allegation, Thanaphol said that the police could press charges on what they considered offensive on a case by case basis.
The quarterly Same Sky has been published for 8 years. The latest Jan-Sept 2010 issue has a cover feature entitled ‘Thai history under royal patronage’.
According to the Nation Channel, Minister of Culture Niphit Intarasombat said that he had been informed by the National Library about the results of its meeting to consider the issue of Same Sky magazine, following the Ministry’s policy of taking legal action against print media which did not abide by the 2007 Print Registration law.
The Minister said that he had already reported this case verbally to the Prime Minister.
‘And I have ordered the Director of the National Library and Directors of 15 Fine Arts Offices all over the country, as the competent authorities, to check all print media in all provinces and have them registered. Even with registered media, they have to look at the contents and pictures, and not allow lèse majesté materials. If they find such content, they have to press charges with the police immediately. At this initial stage, I have been informed that there are a lot of print media which have not been registered. After all checks have been done, the National Library will report the exact number to me,’ he said.