The content in this page ("Talk of a coup is illegal and clearly highly disturbing" by Pravit Rojanaphruk) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Talk of a coup is illegal and clearly highly disturbing

Here we go again. The talk of a coup d'etat is making the headlines once more.

That's nothing to be surprised about in Thailand. The surprising thing is that most of the Thai media should treat the issue with a degree of casualness when asking generals and politicians about what may happen.

It's as if these reporters are inquiring about the weather, wanting to know if it will rain tomorrow or not. The fact is, a coup is illegal, democratically unjustifiable and detrimental to Thai democracy, society and economy.

That the reports are so casual - as if there's nothing undemocratic about a coup - is most irresponsible the part of the media. It's as though they are asking that if convicted rapists could get away with it, would they rape a sexy and vulnerable girl.

But news of a coup sells.

And so the former 2006 coup leader Saprang Kalayanamit obliged and told the media on Monday that another coup is possible, if not plausible. He told the Thai Rath newspaper yesterday that the military won't simply stand by if chaos breaks out.

The Thai media in general continues to treat a coup as if it's a very normal part of the Thai political "solution".

The word "solution" needs to be highlighted here for it's one of the biggest misunderstood concepts in contemporary Thai politics. People, the majority of the media and the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) included, have failed time and time again to learn that such militaristic toppling of power doesn't offer any sustainable solution to the problem of corrupt politicians.

They have failed to learn from their past mistakes in supporting the last coup, which occurred less than two years ago. But that's perhaps because they have never recognised their stance and actions as a mistake.

It is a sign of a troubled society when many are not just believing that another coup is plausible, but that they're now going into details of guessing exactly when it will take place.

Many feel it will take place before the year is out. A recent Abac poll on May 22 revealed that 60 per cent of respondents believe another coup will happen.

The resumption of PAD protests and the skirmish which led to scores of minor injuries on both sides, which includes the PAD's rival the pro-Thaksin Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD), only raised the level of coup speculation - if not the expectation. The PAD appeared keen to resort to whatever cards they have to create a context where a coup can be justified and this includes citing an unfound threat to the monarchy.

 While both sides have the right to peaceful assembly, violence cannot be condoned. The Samak Sundaravej administration may survive or collapse, but it should never be through a military intervention as this will only drag Thai democracy further back and closer to countries like Burma.

 It appears that the DAAD may have started the provocation on Sunday, but in the end pictures revealed both sides unleashing violence. If the PAD wants to maintain the moral high ground, they must not engage in counter-attacks. However, pictures on, and on-line newspapers critical of both groups appeared to showed that the PAD also had a wild time hitting back and cornering some DAAD protesters.

Back in 2006, those activists and intellectuals who said after the September 19, 2007 coup that the putsch was a "fait accompli" must now come out to declare themselves as being opposed to any future military intervention. This is the least they can do now.

And as for people like General Saprang, his contempt for the people's ability to sort out problems by themselves is appalling. A talk by a former coup leader on the possibility of yet another coup is outright illegal and the Ministry of Defence should punish or at least discipline him.

But who will discipline many in the Thai media who treat the speculation of coup like another daily weather forecast?



Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address:, please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”