An ultra-royalist group in Thailand has targeted Facebook and YouTube, claiming that the websites allowed lèse majesté content.
Maj Gen Rienthong Nan-na, head of the so-called Rubbish Collection Organisation, an ultra-royalist Facebook group known for its witch-hunts against people allegedly defaming the monarchy, issued a statement on Tuesday, 13 October 2015, saying that he will file criminal charges against Facebook and YouTube, including many people allegedly defaming the monarchy, for defaming him.
In his statement, the Maj Gen wrote “As I have been affected by people defaming the King, I have to file defamation charges against those who defamed me.”
He then mentioned in the statement that Facebook and YouTube have ignored the distribution of lèse majesté content online, which affected him.
The ultra-royalist leader addressed an open letter to Gen Paiboon Kumchaya, Minister of Justice, requesting legal consultation from the ministry and saying that he will be solely responsible for the legal action.
Recently, the Rubbish Collection Organisation campaigned on its Facebook page for the idea that people who click ‘like’ on lèse majesté content should also be considered lèse majesté suspects.
The group’s statement promoting the campaign says “people who have clicked ‘like’ on lèse majesté Facebook posts, should please erase them and pull out of them immediately. Otherwise, you will be suspected of being supporters of people defaming the King.”
On 1 October 2015, Rienthong Nan-na and Buddha Issara, a pro-coup monk and one of the key leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the anti-election protest group, went to the US Embassy in central Bangkok to submit statements to the US government.
Around 40-50 royalists came to support the two ultra-royalist figures in front of the Embassy on 1 October. The crowd displayed portraits of the Thai King and Queen and banners with messages to support the use of the lèse majesté and sedition laws, which have been used increasingly since the 2014 coup d’état.
Ultra-royalists gathered in front of the US Embassy in Bangkok on 1 October 2015 to support the use of the lèse majesté law while calling on the US and Human Rights Watch not to criticise the law or intervene in Thai politics (photo courtesy of Voice TV21)
In the Rubbish Collection Organisation statement addressed to the US President at that time, Rienthong asked the US to extradite Manu Chaichana, Chatwadee Amornpat aka ‘Rose’, Sanae Tinsan, and others who are accused under Article 112 back to Thailand.
Out of the three named, however, Chatwadee Amornpat is an UK citizen residing in London, and not in the US.
In addition to the extradition request, the ultra-royalist organisation stated that people who defame the revered Thai monarchy violate the ‘human rights’ of Thailand’s Royal Family and are destroying the stability of the nation.
“There are continuing efforts to publicise information aimed at destroying the Thai monarchy. If the US government upholds human rights principles, then they should think of the human rights of the Thai Royal Family as well,” wrote the statement.
The group added “the lèse majesté law is necessary to protect the human rights of the Thai monarchy because the monarchy is a pillar of Thai society.”
Earlier, the group posted a statement on their Facebook page against Sunai Phasuk, well-known as a researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international human rights organization, saying that he is a ‘fake’ human rights defender because he has failed to protect the human rights of the Thai monarchy.