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IN HER DEFENSE: A TIMELINE

International Media Advocates on the Case of Prachatai Executive Director Chiranuch Premchaiporn
 

Reporters Without Borders September 24, 2010
   
“We call for Chiranuch’s immediate release and the withdrawal of the charges against her so that we do not have to witness another attempt to exploit the Computer Crimes Act to silence the regime’s critics… Prachatai is a reliable source of news and information that has managed in recent months to keep the public informed about what is going on in Thailand.”
 

 

Digital Democracy September 25, 2010
   
“It’s unacceptable that she’s currently being detained for something that she didn’t say, but actually for illegal remarks that she tried to remove from her site. This sends a dangerous message to the people of Thailand and has implications for the rest of the region.”
   
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) September 24 2010
   
“We urge Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to release journalist Chiranuch Premchaiporn immediately and unconditionally… The government should stop using anti-crown charges to suppress legitimate criticism… Chiranuch's new arrest comes amid an intensifying crackdown on Thai media.”
Amnesty International February 9, 2011
   

“Thai authorities should drop all charges against human rights defender and web forum moderator Chiranuch Premchaiporn…

“Chiranuch’s arrest and trial reveal how far the Thai government is willing to go toward silencing unpopular or dissident views… Chiranuch’s case is significant because it threatens to ‘shoot the messenger’ in addition to criminalizing the message. But it’s also just the latest in a series of attacks on freedom of expression in Thailand in recent years.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) February 16, 2011
“Free expression on the Internet relies upon Internet intermediaries having clear limitations on liability for hosting and transmitting content… Across the world, we're witnessing increasing efforts by governments and corporations to put pressure on Internet intermediaries to act as network police — pushing ISPs and websites to throttle, filter, block, monitor, and censor. With that in mind, it's clear why the case raises serious concerns about Internet freedom in Thailand.”
Reporters Without Borders September 2, 2011
“Chiranuch is the victim of arbitrary use of draconian laws, namely the Computer Crimes Act and Section 112 of the criminal code, on lèse-majesté… The new prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and her government must prevent freedom of expression being curbed under the pretext of protecting the king’s image. We are waiting for a sign of a real political will to reform these repressive laws.”
International Women’s Media Foundation, in awarding Chiranuch the ‘2011 Courage in Journalism’ Award                                May 11, 2011
  “Three brave women journalists who have risked their lives covering the news have been named the International Women’s Media Foundation’s 2011 Courage in Journalism Award winners. Withstanding danger, threats and political pressure…
 Chiranuch Premchaiporn of Thailand ha(s) shown extraordinary dedication covering violence, corruption and social unrest…

“We are proud to recognize these brave women, who endure the most incredible trials to shed light on the events vital to the nations in which they live…
 They exemplify the crucial role of the press in society."

Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) August 30, 2011

Such fear (of lese-majeste) has prevailed outside the courtroom and is feeding a culture of witch-hunting…The ill-defined law, allowing anyone to file an accusation, and the government's tacit approval… are all that is needed by the vigilantes, putting enormous risk to media practitioners, online commentators, and the sharing of information which the internet has been chiefly used for.

Whether or not the present culture of witch-hunting is to be given further legitimacy to strengthen its chilling grip on freedom of expression, is exactly the reason why Chiranuch’s trial and outcome will be keenly observed.

Irrespective of the court decision, Thai writers, intellectuals and activists have spoken out for more discussion about the law and its reform. They have voiced out against the continuing regression in freedom of expression in Thailand, once seen as among the few more democratic countries in Southeast Asia until the political crisis erupted. The Yingluck’s administration should not precipitate an even greater decline especially since she committed in her administration's policy statement last week to reform laws and the judiciary based on principles of rule of law, and application of law with equality, fairness and transparency.”

 

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