Prachatai journalist detained for reporting on referendum

A Prachatai journalist has been detained by police while he was reporting the activities of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) in central Ratchaburi Province. Three NDM activists have also been detained. 
 
Update: The police accused the four of violating Article 61 of the Referendum Act. The article imposes a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to 200,000 baht and loss of electoral rights for five years on anyone who publishes or distributes content about the draft constitution which deviates from the facts, contains rude and violent language, or threateningly discourages voters from participating in the referendum. This is despite the fact that the four did not distribute the booklets. The four were detained at the police station and will be taken on Monday to a civilian court where the police will make a request for custody.
 
Police at Ban Pong Police Station in Ratchaburi Province on Sunday, 11.30 am, detained Taweesak Kerdpoka, a Prachatai journalist, and three anti-junta NDM activists, Pakorn Areekul, Anucha Rungmorakot and Anan Loked.  
 
The four were detained after the police searched the activists’ car and found copies of an NDM booklet which provides information on the draft constitution which counters that of the junta. 
 
At press time, although Taweesak has identified himself as a reporter of Prachatai, the police have not released him. 
 
The police are investigating whether possession of the booklets is illegal. 
 
Earlier Taweesak went to the police station to report on another event where 18 activists from Ratchaburi reported to the police over their participation in a political assembly deemed illegal under the junta’s rule. The three NDM activists came to the police station to give moral support to the 18. When they were about to leave, however, their car was searched. 
 
 
The police search the car of the NDM activists. 
 
Taweesak Kerdpoka
 
 
Taweesak (wearing a cap) talks to friends.

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