Veteran journalist accused of sedition over Facebook posts

The police have accused a veteran journalist known for his anti-junta stand of sedition over Facebook posts critical of the junta.   

On 1 August 2017, Pravit Rojanaphruk, a senior reporter at Khaosod English, who has consistently criticised Thailand’s junta and the lèse majesté law, posted on his Facebook account that the Technology Crime Suppression Division accused him of violation of Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law.        

“I received a call from the Deputy Superintendent of the Technology Crime Suppression Division informing me at about 6.40pm that a police of the rank of Police Lieutenant Colonel is charging me of violating sedition law through an estimate 5 Facebook postings,” reads Pravit’s Facebook post.  

He added “I insist that I criticize the military regime in good faith and will with my lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights meet with police to hear charges next Tuesday, Aug. 8.”

Pravit was one of the four journalists the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently awarded its Press Freedom Award to On 18 July 2017.

The other three award winners are Ahmed Abba from Cameroon, Patricia Mayorga from Mexico and Afrah Nasser from Yemen.  

The CPJ statement recognises Pravit as “a critical reporter and press freedom advocate in Thailand, who was harassed by the government and detained twice in recent years over his coverage of Thai politics and human rights.”

He was detained incommunicado twice in 2014 and 2015 after expressing his opinions on social media critical of the military government.

The day after he was released from the second detention, Pravit was pressured by The Nation Group to resign from his job of 23 years at The Nation.

If found guilty he could be imprisoned for up to seven years for each of the sedition counts.

Pravit campaigned against the junta’s censorship of the media in 2014 (Photo from Kapook)