Melon Farmers Original Version

Lese Majeste in Thailand

Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime


.Rap Against Dictatorship...

Thai court confirms the censorship of rap music video criticising the country's military dictatorship

Link Here 9th July 2022
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
A music video by Thai activist rap collective Rap Against Dictatorship has been blocked on YouTube in Thailand following an alleged legal complaint from the government.

The Patiroop (Reform) video, which was originally released in November, was filmed during the country's anti-government protests in Bangkok demanding royal reforms. The video featured the rap group walking with fellow supporters and protestors, and featured clips of the Grand Palace in the Thai capital.

On January 4 2022, Rap Against Dictatorship announced they had discovered the video's ban from YouTube in Thailand:

Our music video 'Reform' was ordered to be banned by the government, which notified YouTube to restrict access.

Since the video's release, it has garnered over 9 million views on YouTube (from outside of Thailand).

On 7 July 2022, Patiroob was again blocked on YouTube as a result of a Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) petition to the Court that it should be prohibited under the terms of the Computer Crime Act.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the Court agreed that the song's lyrics, which seemingly allude to both the prime minister and king, have a bearing on national security. They also ruled that the song, which promotes the idea of equality, was filled with obscene language.

According to the ruling, the music video also elicited comments from netizens about the monarchy that were likely to affect public sentiment and national security. The Court dismissed arguments that the song was in keeping with constitutional freedoms of expression and that it was a creative work of benefit to society, saying that liberty must not cause damage to others, especially figures many people respect.

After the ruling, R.A.D. posted on its Facebook page that it would remove the Patiroob music video and song from all its public platforms.



Government protests...

Thailand threatens legal action against social media companies in its quest to censor criticism of the country's political system

Link Here24th September 2020
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thailand aggressively defends its political system that is based on nominal democracy, but in reality has a monarchy led elite that holds all of the power. In particular Thailand hands out extreme punishments for political comments that criticise the monarchy system. The country uses its lese majeste law that punish people for insulting the monarchy, but of course criticising the political system is deemed to be insulting of the king.

The system has worked effectively under the previous well respected king, but the current incumbent is not so revered. It would be a brave person that would dare to rise above the parapet in the face of a 30 year prison sentence, but a current wave of protests was initiated by school children, and it proved not so easy to start sending kids to jail for 30 years. Now the momentum has spread to university students, and the government is seeking to censor social media postings in support of the protest movement.

But Google, Facebook and co have not responded to government censorship demands, and now the Thai government is turning to law to try and get the US companies to comply.

Digital minister Puttipong Punnakanta announced the move at a news conference saying that unless the companies send their representatives to negotiate or request further information, police can bring criminal cases against them. Of course the companies have googled for lese majeste and realise that any company such representatives may be risking 30 years jail time.

The digital ministry filed complaints with cybercrime police after the two firms missed a 15-day deadline to comply with takedown orders. It appears that YouTube did indeed take down some videos but Puttipong says more takedown orders will be issued to Facebook, Twitter and Google.



True censorship...

Thailand advertises for the job of international news censor for cable and satellite TV

Link Here27th April 2020
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
TrueVisions is the dominant pay TV provider for Thai cable and satellite TV. The company broadcasts all foreign news channels with an annoying 5 minute delay so that a Thai news censor can hit the 'censor' button should the channel report about a sensitive news topic.

Now the True company seems to have got in a spot of bother by openly posting a job listing for an international news censor on the nation's biggest job site.

TrueVisions has been criticized for its post on JobsDB for an employee to monitor inappropriate news from 17 foreign news channels and talk shows and report them to superiors.

According to the job post, any content deemed to violate Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the section known as lese majeste, which makes criticism of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The job listing did not indicate salary or other information about the job. Today, it had been replaced by a message reading , We're very sorry. This job no longer exists.



Thailand criticises US free speech...

Thailand objects to the TV drama Madam Secretary featuring its harsh lese majeste laws in a story line

Link Here 19th November 2018
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Madam Secretary: Ghosts is a TV drama by Rob Greenlea.
Starring Téa Leoni, Tim Daly and Keith Carradine. IMDb

While Elizabeth was grooming to annouce her candidacy, Henry attended a conference organized by his ex-girlfriend in Thailand. She made a patriotic move by questioning the existence of the mornachy and was apprehended immediately. Henry was later put in jail bacause of his attempt to vouch for her. Dalton signed off on a covert operation to save both American citizens after they were sentenced to death for insulting the monarchy.

Thailand has hit out at the CBS show Madam Secretary on Sunday in response to an episode that referenced the country's monarchy, claiming it to be misleading.

Thailand has some of the world's harshest royal defamation laws and monitors royal criticism both in Thailand and abroad, with critics regularly being imprisoned for massive prison sentences of up to 15 years (per count).

Madam Secretary, came under fire after a character travels to Thailand and presumably criticises the monarchy at a conference before being hauled away by police.

Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had asked its embassy in Washington to convey concern and disappointment to CBS over the November 4 episode. The Thai authorities hold that the harsh sentences are justified by the high esteem in which many Thais hold the royalty. Ministry spokesperson Busadee Santipitaks claimed that:

The episode titled Ghosts presented the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai monarchy in a misleading manner, leading to grave concern and dismay from many Thais who have seen it.

The episode in question did not take into account the sensitivity of the Thai people in this regard.




Chiang Mai governor censors protest against air pollution citing lese majeste law

Link Here1st April 2018
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

 The governor of Thailand's Chiang Mai province has sued a local magazine in an attempt to silence a protest highlighting dangerous levels of local air pollution.

Protestors had contributed pictures of themselves and others wearing pollution masks to a Facebook campaign. One student had painted a picture of a famous local statue of 3 ancient kings, adding pollution facemasks.

The local governor seized on the country's extreme lese majeste laws to put an end to the protest. The broadly-interpreted crime of lese majeste - which can carry decades-long sentences - has cemented a culture of fear and necessary self-censorship across the kingdom. The governor said:

I assigned my official to file a complaint with police yesterday that the picture may have violated the Computer Crime Act as it's inappropriate. The statues of three kings are very sacred and respected by Chiang Mai residents, they were our ancestors.

In an official letter to police, the governor said the painting may affect Chiang Mai's image and its tourism, causing the city economic instability. He did not mention how a reputation for repression and extreme punishment for trivial offences may also have a negative effect on people wanting to visit the country.



Update: Crimes against humanity...

Thai man sentenced to 35 years jail for criticising the monarchy in a Facebook post

Link Here 12th June 2017
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

A Thai man has been jailed for 35 years for Facebook posts critical of the royal family in one of the most extreme sentences handed down for a crime that insulates Thailand's ultra-rich monarchy from criticism.

A Bangkok military court convicted him of 10 counts of lese-majesty for posting photos and videos of the royal family on a Facebook account that purported to belong to a different user. The man, whose last name was withheld to protect his relatives, was accused of using the account to slander a former friend, said iLaw, a group that tracks royal defamation cases.

The court punished him with seven years per count. Altogether he was given 70 years, but it was reduced in half because he confessed.

Later on Friday, a criminal court sentenced another lese-majesty victim to two and a half years in jail for uploading an audio clip from an underground political radio show that was deemed insulting to the monarchy.

The United Nations' rights body has warned that Thailand's widespread use of the law may constitute crimes against humanity.



Update: Blocking criticism...

Thai military government tries to get heavy with Facebook over users' criticism of the monarchy

Link Here11th May 2017
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Military authorities in Thailand have warned Facebook to take down content criticising the monarchy, or face legal action.

Facebook has been given until next Tuesday to remove about 130 items from pages viewable in Thailand. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission told the BBC that Facebook had already co-operated in blocking some pages, but that more than 130 judged to be illegal by the authorities remained visible in Thailand.

Facebook says it does consider requests from governments to block material, and will comply if it breaks local laws.

Any comment critical of the monarchy can result in prosecution under Thailand's strict lese-majeste law, even if the criticism is justified. Those convicted face extreme prison sentences.

Thailand's military government that seized power in Thailand in 2014 has made great efforts to suppress any criticism of the monarchy. Thousands of websites have been blocked, and people caught sharing, or even liking Facebook posts deemed unflattering to the monarchy have been prosecuted.



Update: Flaming row...

Myanmar complains that a Thai TV drama insults its historic royalty

Link Here14th March 2017
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thailand, who have a repressive lese majeste law, which metes out extreme punishments for minor criticisms of royalty, has been accused of insulting Myanmar's historic royalty.

A Thai soap opera that appears to depict Burmese palace intrigue has angered some in Myanmar including a descendant of Myanmar's last king. Soe Win, the great-grandson of King Thibaw, has called for the show to be cancelled as it is insulting . He told AFP:

We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country.

But producers of the historical drama, called Plerng Phra Nang (A Lady's Flames) , have insisted it is purely fictional.

The lady in question is Ananthip, a character who schemes to seize control of the kingdom. Some have observed she closely resembles Hsinbyumashin, a real-life Burmese palace consort who orchestrated the massacre of scores of royals so that Thibaw could ascend the throne. Thibaw abdicated and the Burmese monarchy was abolished in 1885, when British forces defeated and invaded Burma.



Offsite Article: Fear of the future...

Link Here20th November 2016
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thai website shutdowns soar after king's death

See article from



Update: Extreme Censorship...

Extreme sentences for political criticism handed down in Thailand

Link Here12th August 2015
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Two military courts in Thailand have sentenced a man to 30 years in prison and a woman to 28 years for supposedly insulting the monarchy.

The sentences are the harshest ever given under Thailand's lese majeste law, which nominally prevents criticism of the king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, but is widely cast such that criticism of the political system could be construed as an insult to the monarchy.

The convictions relate to articles posted on Facebook. Tour operator Pongsak Sriboonpeng was tried in secret at a court in Bangkok. The judge sentenced him to ten years for each of the six posts he made about the monarch on social media. But the arbitrarily doubled up 60-year term was halved after he pleaded guilty.

In a separate case, a 29-year-old hotel worker and mother of two was sentenced to 56 years by a court in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Her sentence was also halved after a guilty plea.

Earlier in the week, a man with a history of mental illness was given five years in jail for tearing a portrait of the king.

Jonathan Head, BBC south east Asia correspondent, Bangkok explained that ten years ago, open criticism of the monarchy was almost unknown. But the political polarisation of Thai society since a military coup nine years ago, which was backed by the palace, has prompted some Thais to challenge the official veneration of the king, especially on social media.

Update: UN is appalled by extreme Thai censorship

12th August 2015.  See  article from

The United Nations has said it was appalled by record jail sentences -- of 30 and 28 years -- handed to two Thais for royal defamation, as prosecutions soar under the military dictatorship.

 A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement:

We are appalled by the shockingly disproportionate prison terms handed down over the past few months in lese majeste cases in Thailand.

Andrea Giorgetta from the International Federation for Human Rights, warned of growing cyber-vigilantism and decried the jailing of civilians for merely expressing their opinions.

Under the legislation anyone can launch a complaint and the police are duty-bound to investigate.



Offsite Artilce: Extreme Oppression...

Link Here4th July 2015
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
How a Facebook User in Thailand Was Sentenced to 50 Years in Jail for 'Defaming' the Monarchy

See article from



Update: An insult to Thai people...

Two Thai students jailed for performing a play critical of the monarchy

Link Here 23rd February 2015
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
A Thai court has sentenced a man and a woman to two years and six months in jail each for damaging the monarchy .

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 26, had pleaded guilty to breaking repressive lese majeste laws which protect the royals from criticism and insults.

The charges related to a play they performed at a university in 2013. The play, called Wolf Bride, was set in a fantasy kingdom and featured a fictional king and his advisor. It marked the 40th anniversary of a student pro-democracy protest that was crushed by a military regime.

The BBC's Jonathan Head, who is at the court in Bangkok, says the two were handcuffed together on arrival, one wearing leg shackles.

However, the full details have not been widely reported because under the laws media coverage which repeat details of the offence is considered the same as the original statement.



Thailand recommends...

The book, A Kingdom in Crisis by Andrew MacGregor Marshall

Link Here14th November 2014
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thailand's National police chief Police General Somyot Poompanmuang has banned the ordering and importation of the book A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand's Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century , claiming that it contains anti-monarchist sentiments.

The police chief issued the ban under the Printing Act of 2007. The book was written by Scottish journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a former journalist with the Thomson Reuters news agency. The book, which had not gone on sale in Thailand, was released last week by the British publishing house, Zed Books.

Somyot based the decision on articles reviewing the book that were printed in two overseas newspapers in the online edition of the South China Morning Post and the online edition of UK newspaper The Independent.

The police claimed the two articles showed that the book insulted and fomented hatred of Their Majesties the King and the Queen, the heir to the throne, and affected national security, peace and public morality.

Somyot said violators of the ban were liable to a prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht (£1200). He also ordered the seizure and destruction of copies of the book.

Formers Reuters correspondent, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, now a freelance journalist and analyst on Thai culture and politics, expressed his delight that his book was banned.  During the last two days, the book has featured in AP , Bangkok Post , Thai PBS (English version), BBC Thai , Prachatai, and other Thai news sites .

The book, which Marshall says was partly based on information from classified US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, as well as contacts from within the royal establishment, was already an Amazon bestseller in the Asian History section. Marshall commented:

I am fundamentally opposed to the banning of books, and I don't see how Thailand can hope to solve its problems peacefully unless Thais are allowed to openly discuss and debate all aspects of their politics and history. Censorship and suppression can only make the crisis worse, and increase the risk that there will be more violence. However, I'm personally delighted that the Thai police have banned my book. I would have been very offended if they hadn't. My book is intended to challenge the myths and fairy tales of the Thai elite, and the ban shows I did my job properly.



Update: Stamping Down...

Thai woman prosecuted for stepping on a picture of the king

Link Here18th March 2014
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
A Thai Criminal Court began hearing the case of a 65-year-old woman who stepped on a picture of the country's king in July 2012 and was prosecuted for violating the lese majeste law.

Thitinan was accused of defaming the King by allegedly stepping on the King's picture during a pro-establishment rally in front of the Constitutional Court in July 13, 2012. The protesters at the rally brought charges against her with the police and would testify against her in the hearing.



Update: Unwarranted Website Blocking...

Reporters Without Borders asks Thailand to withdraw repressive new internet bill

Link Here 16th December 2013
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Reporters Without Borders has asked the Thai Ministry of Communications and Internet Technology to change its approach to updating the Computer Crime Act of 2007.

The law already authorizes the government to arrest journalists and bloggers for political reasons. If a newly proposed amendment were adopted, the government would have even more latitude to muzzle the independent and opposition media. Reporters Without Borders said:

We support the five journalists association which have protested the bill. The bill -- in addition to eliminating a requirement for a judicial warrant to block a website -- would allow that action without approval from the Ministry of Communications and Internet Technology, thereby distancing the law even more from international standards.

The press freedom organization added, We request that the legislation be withdrawn in its entirety.

In a joint press release on 24 October, the Thai Journalists Association, the Thai Broadcasting Journalists Association, Online News Providers Association, Information Technology Reporters and Academic Specialists on Computer Law Group declared that the bill would threaten the very infrastructure of the internet and would make website operators, internet service providers and users responsible for content.



Offsite Article: Where criticism of the monarchy will put you in jail...

Link Here22nd February 2013
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
An editor was last month sentenced to 11 years in prison, for defaming the country's king. Geoffrey Cain reports on how Thailand's lese majeste laws have chilled free speech

See article from



Update: Silenced Voice...

Thai magazine editor gets 10 years in jail for lese majeste after calling for the repeal of the same law

Link Here24th January 2013
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

A magazine editor sentenced to ten years in prison for publishing two negative articles about Thailand's monarchy. Somyot Pruksakasemsuk published the articles in Voice of Taksin .

The verdict came despite repeated calls by rights groups to free Somyot, who has been jailed since 2011. They condemned his imprisonment as the latest affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

The articles were published under a pseudonym in Somyot's now-defunct Voice of Taksin magazine, which he launched in 2009 to compile political news and anti-establishment articles from writers and contributors.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, explained that the case appears to be more about Somyot's strong support for amending the lese majeste law than about any harm incurred by the monarchy. Although the articles were published in 2010, Somyot was not arrested until the following year, five days after launching a petition drive to revoke Article 112 of the nation's criminal code. The author of the articles has never been charged with any crimes and is reported to be living in Cambodia.

Judges found both articles included content that criticised the royal family and argued that Somyot, as a veteran editor, was aware of that. The court handed down two five-year jail terms - one for each story.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said:

The harsh sentence sends the wrong signals on freedom of expression in Thailand. The court's decision is the latest indication of a disturbing trend in which lese majesty charges are used for political purposes. People exercising freedom of expression should not be punished in the first place.

The European Union said:

The verdict seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom and affects Thailand's image as a free and democratic society.

Somyot said he would appeal the verdict but would not seek a royal pardon.



Update: Political Prisoner...

Prominent Thai political leader jailed for comments about the monarchy

Link Here18th January 2013
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

A prominent member of Thailand's red-shirt political movement has been jailed for two years for comments relating to the monarchy in a 2010 speech.

Activist and comedian Yossawaris Chuklom, who uses the stage name Jeng Dokchik, made the speech at a rally in Bangkok during political protests.

People found guilty under Thailand's strict lese majeste laws can face up to 15 years in prison.

Critics of the law say it has been used to suppress free speech. For example, calling for the abolition of the monarchy is considered an insult to the royal family.

A lawyer for Yossawaris said he had originally been sentenced to three years but that the judge reduced it to two because he had given useful evidence. He added that his client intended to appeal against the verdict, and would apply for bail.



Update: Royal Pardon...

Joe Gordon jailed on lese majeste charges has been freed after a royal pardon

Link Here11th July 2012
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

An American Thai sentenced to two and a half years in Thai prison for translating a banned biography about the country's king and posting the content online has been freed by a royal pardon, the U.S. Embassy has announced.

Joe Gordon was convicted in December for translating excerpts of the book into Thai. The punishment was a high-profile example of the severe sentences meted out for criticism of the monarchy.

No reason was given for the pardon, but U.S. officials have pressed Thai authorities to release the Thai-born American since he was first detained in May 2011. US Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler said.

We are pleased that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej granted Joe Gordon a royal pardon, which allowed him to be released from prison, Braunohler said. We urge Thai authorities on a regular basis, both privately and publically, in Bangkok and in Washington, to ensure that freedom of expression is protected in accordance with its international obligations.


16th January

Update: Expressing his Concerns...

UN Special Rapporteur visits Thailand with concerns about freedom of expression

A senior United Nations expert made a private visit to Bangkok to discuss and monitor restricted freedom of expression in the Kingdom, especially the controversial lese-majeste law.

Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, issued a statement last year expressing concern about Thailand's lese-majeste law.

He hopes he will be officially invited back later this year to examine the law and issues of expression. Freedom of expression is a fundamental element of any democratic society, La Rue said, urging Thai authorities to do what they can to promote it.

La Rue met with members of the House of Representatives' Committee on Human Rights and the Senate Committee on Human Rights, as well as with National Human Rights Commissioner Nirand Pitakwatchara.

He told a group of reporters that liberation movements around the world, the Arab Spring for example, were a consequence of lack of freedom of expression.

Thai group expresses concerns about freedom of expression

See  article from

A group of prominent figures with royal lineage have appealed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to amend the lese majeste law. Eight people with royal lineage signed a letter which they sent to the PM asking the government to change the law.

The letter said the number of lese majeste cases had increased substantially in the span of seven years, from zero in 2002 to 165 in 2009. News about these cases has been reported around the world and resulted in increasingly intense attacks on the institution of the monarchy, it said.

The group cited in support of its move His Majesty King Bhumibol's address on Dec 4, 2005 in which he said putting people who criticised the monarchy in jail only caused trouble to him.


29th December

Update: Dangerous Likes...

Thais advised about safe web surfing

The newly opened Centre for Monitoring Lese Majeste Websites is offering advice to Thais on what to do and not to do when browsing the internet: 

  • The first advice the centre gives the public is: Do not forward, send a link or revisit websites - including Facebook, Twitter or YouTube - with content that is critical of the monarchy. Those who do so can be regarded as supporting such websites.
  • Never press 'Like' in Facebook or click 'Follow' on Twitter for sites with content critical of the monarchy.
  • If you Google certain key words such as 'King Thailand' and come across indecent content, do not activate the link because browsing those websites can upgrade the ranking of those lese majeste sites, eventually pushing them to the top of the list.
  • It is suggested that the public check in to such websites as and


12th December

Update: Dangerous Translations...

American Thai jailed for 2.5 years for posting translations from banned book whilst living in the US

Thailand has jailed a US citizen for two and a half years after he admitted posting web links to a banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Joe Gordon, a used car salesman from Colorado who was born in Thailand, pleaded guilty to the charge of criticising the Thai monarchy, at an earlier hearing. He was sentenced to five years in jail, but the judges halved the term because of his guilty plea.

The US has expressed concern over the use of Thailand's lese-majeste law. US officials have repeatedly urged the Thai authorities to ensure freedom of expression, and said the decision to prosecute Gordon was disappointing.

Gordon reportedly translated parts of the widely available biography, The King Never Smiles by Paul Handley, several years ago and posted them on a blog while he was living in the US.

He was arrested in May when he visited Thailand for medical treatment. He initially denied the charges, but said he changed his plea to guilty after being repeatedly refused bail.

Activists say the lese-majeste law has become increasingly politicised, and is used as a tool of repression rather than as a way of protecting the monarchy.

Update: Thailand criticised by the UN

9th December 2011. See  article from

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Thailand to amend the laws on lese majeste.

We are concerned about the ongoing trials and harsh sentencing of people convicted of lese majeste and the chilling effect this is having on freedom of expression, said Ravina Shamdasani, the agency's acting spokesperson: Such harsh criminal sanctions are neither necessary nor proportionate and violate Thai human rights obligations.


25th November

Update: Dangerous Likes...

In the wake of a 20 year jail sentence for 4 anti-monarchy SMS messages, Thailand warns its Facebook users not even to 'Like' items critical of the monarchy

Thailand is taking on Facebook over articles that are critical of its monarchy. The Thai Ministry of Information and Communications Technology has sent a request to Facebook to remove 10,000 pages or URLs that are critical of the Thai monarchy.

However this is being challenged in the US. The US authorities have been asked to investigate the Thai request against the background of the Freedom of Information Act, the Speech Act of 2010, US constitutional safeguards and other laws relevant to free expression in a democratic society.

Meanwhile the Thai Information and Communication Technology Minister, Anudith Nakornthap, has warned Thai internet users that those who press share or like buttons on Facebook in response to monarchy-related content can violate the Computer Crime Act.

Although the clicks were only aimed at showing support for people who posted messages or to oppose the ill-intentioned messages, they could be considered an infraction of the law, the minister said.

He advised people who pressed those buttons in Facebook to delete all their reactions and comments.

A Facebook account entitled Report Society of Thailand has been created to allow Facebook users to report spam, fake [Facebook] accounts, infringements of intellectual property rights, immoral or violent content, and of course content critical of the Thai monarchy.

Update: Proposing a Facebook Ban

2nd December 2011.  See  article from

Mallika Boonmetrakul, deputy spokesperson of the main opposition, the Democrat Party, said that if all attempts to block or ban online content deemed defamatory to the monarchy failed, then the government should adopt her final solution of blocking Facebook and YouTube completely.


15th October

Update: Dangerous Link...

US man pleads guilty to lese majeste charges in Thailand

A US man has pleaded guilty in Thailand to charges of commenting unfavourably about the monarchy.

The Thai-born man, who uses his American name Joe Gordon, is accused of posting a link on a blog to a royal biography banned in the country.

Lese majeste is an extreme offence in Thailand, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, but defence lawyers hope the guilty plea will result in the usual 50% reduction in sentence.

Judges are due to sentence Gordon on 9 November.

Gordon, has previously denied the charges, media reports say, but after repeatedly being denied bail he changed his mind.


8th October

Updated: Suggestions on Avoiding Abuses...

UN human rights session criticises Thailand's lese majeste law
United Nations representatives of a dozen countries including France, Germany, the UK and Australia have recommended that the Thai government amend their lese majeste law to bring the country's level of freedom of expression in line with international standards.

The recommendation was made during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in Geneva. The four-yearly process organised by the United Nations Human Rights Council requires each UN member state to present a report on various human rights conditions and to hear questions and recommendations by representatives of other members.

Representatives from the United Kingdom, France and Slovenia shared the view that the lese majeste law affected freedom of expression and urged Thailand to consider this aspect of liberty. Hungary and Finland urged Thailand to invite the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit Thailand.

The representative of Norway made the suggestion, that although Norway has a lese majeste law, a charge can only be brought with the personal approval of the king in order to avoid abuses .

The United States joined China, Syria, Singapore and Burma in not expressing any concern about the lese majeste law. One European diplomat told The Nation that Washington's lack of comment on the issue put the US in the same league with dictatorial states.

Other states whose representatives urged Thailand to amend the law included Switzerland, Brazil, Spain, Sweden and New Zealand. Some of these, including the Canadian representative, also raised the issue of the Computer Crimes Act, which critics say is also being used by the Thai government to curb freedom of expression.


28th May

Update: Dangerous Links...

Thailand jails Thai US man for posting website link to banned book

A Thai-born dual Thai-US citizen and passport holder was arrested and detained without bail  for allegedly putting up a computer link to the content of the banned book , The King Never Smiles on his blog.

Joe Gordon told a Prachatai online newspaper reporter that he was having difficulties adjusting to Bangkok Remand Prison and that he was worried about the cleanliness of the drinking water. He denied committing lese majeste on the Internet.

Gordon was arrested and taken from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok by the Department of Special Investigation.

Update: Appeal to Obama

12th June 2011. See  article from

An American man, arrested in Thailand last week on charges of insulting the monarchy, has appealed to US President Barack Obama for help.

The man, who uses his American name Joe Gordon, is accused of posting a link on a blog to a royal biography that is banned in Thailand.


4th May

Update: Unmentionable censorship...

Thailand set to ban mere mention of the monarchy during election campaign

Thailand's Election Commission (EC) authorities have banned discussion of the monarchy in campaigning for the first national election since the political violence erupted in 2010.

The poll's body has not revealed the details of the new rules, which were announced at a meeting with political representatives.

The EC will discuss details of the ban later, said Apichart Sukananond, the body's chairman, suggesting that parties who disobey the rules may be dissolved and their leaders may be banned for five years.

Debate about the role of the monarchy is a taboo in Thailand as the country prepares its national election in early July.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva supported the ban stating that the monarchy was above politics and conflicts , while the main opposition party Puea thai pledged to respect the rules.


5th February

Update: Unmoderated Danger...

Thai webmaster on trial for other people's postings on the forum

The trial has started of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, executive director of the Thailand-based independent news Web site Prachatai. She stands accused of 10 different violations of the country's draconian 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA), each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The case centers on comments posted by users of a Prachatai Web board that authorities have charged were defamatory of the Thai monarchy--a criminal offense under Thai law. Chiranuch has been charged under the CCA's Section 15, which pertains to the liability of online intermediaries, including Internet service providers (ISPs) and webmasters.

Prosecution witness Aree Jivorarak, head of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology's (MICT) said in his testimony that when his office brought the comments to Chiranuch's attention she immediately deleted them in her capacity as the Web board's moderator.

Chiranuch told CPJ that Prachatai's online forums received thousands of comments daily in 2008--when the alleged CCA violations occurred--and that it was impossible to police instantly every comment that was posted.

Defense witnesses are expected to argue in upcoming hearings that the CCA's Section 15 is out of step with laws governing intermediary liability in many Western countries and that the Thai law applies unreasonable obligations to webmasters.


20th August

Update: 110,000 Websites Blocked...

Thailand becoming one of the least free states in the region

Criticism over Thailand's efforts to curb political debate online is mounting as the government restricts thousands of websites following deadly protest clashes earlier this year.

Thai authorities say they have blocked at least 40,000 Web pages this year, according to the government's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, which monitors the Internet. Free-speech activists say authorities are blocking at least 110,000 sites, based on government disclosures and spot checks online.

Many of the sites feature criticism of the government or debates about Thailand's revered monarchy, a taboo subject here. As a result, some advocates say Thailand—long seen as a relative haven of free speech in Asia—is becoming one of the least-free states in a region that includes China and Myanmar, when it comes to discourse online

...Read the full article

Update: Wikileaks Blocked

20th August 2010. Based on article from

Thai authorities have used their emergency powers to block domestic access to the WikiLeaks whistleblower website on security grounds, a government official said Wednesday.

The order came from the government unit set up to oversee the response to political unrest that rocked the nation's capital earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said.

Access to this website has been temporarily suspended under the 2005 emergency decree, she said.


The Wikileaks block has yet to filter through, and for the moment, Wikileaks continues to be available to some in Thailand.

There is speculation that this action is more about toadying to the US who are pissed off about the Afghan War leaks.

WikiLeaks has launched ThaiLeaks, a web page of downloadable ‘magnet links’ to Thailand news items. The whistleblower announced the launch of the new page today on Twitter. It said even if the new page is blocked citizens will still be able to access information through the links which can be sent in e-mails, instant messages, even printed on paper, in order to keep information flowing.


17th April

Update: Foreign Correspondent Under Fire...

Thailand complains about Australian programme

Thailand has protested to the Australian government over the airing of a documentary critical of the Thai royal family and warned that the broadcast could affect ties between the nations.

A senior representative from the Thai embassy met with officials from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs o express his concern at the programme, Foreign Correspondent , aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The concern is that it might affect the good relations between Thailand and Australia, especially the people to people relations, Saksee Phromyothi, minister-counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy, told AFP: We consider this an issue matter of national security... because the royal family, the monarchy, in our constitution is above politics.

Thailand's ambassador designate Kriangsak Kittichaisaree has also written to ABC managing director Mark Scott to complain about the programme which could breach Thailand's lese-majeste laws which prohibit criticism of the royals: I regret that an organisation of the ABC's stature has lowered its own standard by airing the said documentary which is presented in a manner no different from tabloid journalism .

A spokesman for Australia's Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that Thai embassy officials had complained about the ABC programme but said: The Australian government does not and cannot control content run by Australian media organisation .


20th March

Update: Hidden Economy...

The Economist pulls another issue from distribution in Thailand

One of the world's most popular English-language news publications will not be distributed in Thailand this week because of an article on the nation's monarchy.

In an email issued to subscribers, the UK-based magazine The Economist, said that due to the sensitive nature of the publication's coverage of the Thai monarchy, the March 20th edition will not be distributed in the South East Asian country. There were no indications that the online edition of The Economist would be affected.

The article in question examines concerns in Thailand over the question of potential royal succession and how it relates to recent political unrest in the country.

Friday's self-censorship by The Economist marks the fourth time since late 2008 that the publication has been pulled from circulation in the Thai kingdom over a story about the nation's monarchy.


18th February

Update: Fearful of Comment...

200 lese majeste cases in Thai courts

On February 5 an unidentified man was arrested for comments he posted to a webboard. His house was searched, his computer confiscated as evidence, his family frightened, and friends panicked. These are ordinary people who express opinions that the authorities consider dangerous, and the mainstream media never allows. The Internet is their only outlet.

The police released this man on February 6, told him to stop making comments on the webboard, and they will let the case go away quietly. 

How many other cases there are there like this one? It is a perfect method of intimidation and creating fear without having to do the paper work to the end, not having to bother the court, and without public attention. Many Thais now say they will withdraw from the internet exchanges, at least for a long while.

The government announced last month (Jan 2010) that they would set up a committee to oversee the cases to prevent the abuses of the law. During the past year, the convictions in three cases were severe (18, 10 and 7 years of prison).

A dozen more people were arrested, charged for lèse majesté, either by the lèse majesté law or under the Computer Crimes Act 2007 which is a lèse majesté law in disguise. The CCA has not been used against pornography or identity theft but solely for lèse majesté. Four recent arrests were for translating news from Bloomberg about the monarch's health, for spreading so-called inauspicious rumours after the downturn in the Thai stock market.

An unconfirmed source reports there are about 200 lèse majesté cases in court at the moment. We can imagine how widespread the intimidation and fear is.


13th January

Sliding Backwards...

Amnesty International criticises Thailand

Thailand must halt a backward slide on freedom of expression after a sharp rise in cases of people accused of insulting the revered monarchy, a leading rights group said.

Amnesty International said it welcomed a panel established by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in December to scrutinise the enforcement of Thailand's tough lese majeste laws, which carry a jail term of up to 15 years.

But the London-based group said the government should suspend the use of the law until it has scrapped provisions allowing any citizen to report another for alleged violations, and urged Thai authorities to stop censoring websites.

Amnesty International supports the prime minister's new initiative, and encourages the Royal Thai government to amend the lese majeste law so that it complies with international law and standards, an Amnesty statement said.

The group highlighted two cases since April 2009 in which Thai nationals received heavy jail sentences for allegedly defaming the royals and said that hundreds of other cases of alleged lese majeste remained active.

It said many people charged under the law had also been charged under the computer crimes act, leading to a big increase in monitoring of the Internet for any material that allegedly defames the royal family.

Amnesty said it was also concerned that the law had been characterised by the government as a matter of national security, allowing cases to be held behind closed doors.

The group said it acknowledged the nation's considerable progress under 82-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, especially in human rights, but said this made the recent roll-back in freedom of expression of even greater concern .


11th November

Update: Thai Censorship Makes the News...

Thai politicians unimpressed by Times interview of Thaksin

A group of Thai politicians and generals have accused a Times journalist of insulting the country's monarchy by reporting comments by Thaksin Shinawatra — an offence that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

The complaint against Richard Lloyd Parry, the Asia editor of The Times, derives from an interview with Thaksin that was published in Monday's newspaper and on Times Online the day before.

According to the Bangkok Post, members of a group of Thai monarchists called Siam Samakkhi (United Siam) have made an allegation of lèse-majesté against Thaksin and  Lloyd Parry. The Government blocked parts of Times Online from being accessed within the country.

Kasit Piromya, the Foreign Minister, said: Thaksin's interview is a violation of the monarchy, which is the country's core pillar and a highly respected institution. It is unacceptable and should have never taken place.

It is not clear which parts of the interview led to the complaint by four members of Siam Samakkhi. They include Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn, a critic of Thaksin, and General Somchet Boonthanom, the former head of the Thai Council for National Security.


17th July

Update: Economising on Free Speech...

Thailand misses another issue of the Economist

Distributors blocked the July 4-10 edition of The Economist from entering Thailand for an article that covered the mounting threat of lese majeste complaints to the country's Internet freedom and freedom of expression, according to a local distributor and international news reports. 

This is the third time since December that distributors have opted not to distribute the British weekly newsmagazine because of concerns over its coverage of the monarchy, according to a distributor who spoke on condition of anonymity with CPJ. The Economist has more than 2,500 paid subscribers in Thailand and is also distributed by various newsstands and book stores.

The one-page article, Treason in cyberspace, noted that the scope of investigations under the law has recently widened and that Thai authorities have used the law as justification for blocking more than 8,300 Web pages since March 2008. It also referenced the lese majeste case pending against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of online news site Prachatai, who is charged for allowing a comment critical of Queen Sirikit to be posted by a reader to her site's message board. Because she faces multiple criminal counts for perceived anti-monarchy postings, The Economist reported, she could face as long as 50 years in prison. The article also discussed the lese majeste complaint, filed by a private citizen, against the entire board of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Authorities have not formally banned The Economist's distribution in Thailand and the following week's edition of the magazine was available on local newsstands, according to CPJ research.

The growing use of lese majeste charges has had an unmistakable chilling effect on freedom of expression in Thailand, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney: We call on the authorities to amend these laws so that journalists and those who distribute their work are not cowed into self-censorship.


30th April

Update: International Criticism...

Human rights groups call on Thailand to revise lese majeste laws

I posted a video of the king on the Internet, Suwicha Thakor told Reporters Without Borders from behind a plexiglas screen in Bangkok’s Klong Prem prison on 20 April. The police should have told me what I was doing was wrong. It is not right to be sentenced to 10 years in prison for this. I am not a problem for the country or its security. I am in prison for nothing.

Suwicha was given the 10-year sentence on 3 April on a charge of lese majeste. Reporters Without Borders wrote to the king yesterday asking him to grant Suwicha a royal pardon.

Reporters Without Borders and 31 other human rights, press freedom and journalists organisations have issued a joint appeal to the Thai government for a revision of article 112 of the Thai criminal code on lese majeste.

Since a new government took over last December, the authorities have stepped up enforcement of the lese majeste law and the Internet has been one of the leading victims. Access to more than 50,000 websites is currently blocked because of content critical of the monarchy. Around ten people are being prosecuted (or have been prosecuted) for lese majeste and two of them have been convicted. The crime of lese majeste is punishable by three to 15 years in prison.

Call to the Prime Minister to review the lese majeste law:

We, human rights groups, journalists and the victims of arbitrary lese majeste prosecutions appeal to Thai authorities to review criminal code article 112 on national security offences, under which any defamatory, insulting or threatening comments about the king, queen, crown prince or regent is deemed to be a crime of lese majeste punishable by three to 15 years in prison.

Access to more than 50,000 webpages has been blocked because of content critical of the monarchy, some 10 people are currently being prosecuted on lese majeste charges, at least two are in prison, and more held without bail.

This situation has gone unresolved far too long.


17th April

Another Economist Goes Missing...

More self censorship of The Economist magazine in Thailand

The Economist has again decided not to distribute its magazine in Thailand this week because of coverage of the Thai monarchy.

In an email to subscribers the magazine confirmed: Due to the sensitive nature of our coverage on the Thai monarchy, we decided not to distribute the April 18th 2009 issue of The Economist in Thailand.

This week's magazine appears to have two Thailand related articles although the sensitive article is entitled The trouble with Thailand's King . It is sure to thrust Thailand's lese majeste laws into the global spotlight once again.

This is the third edition of the magazine this year to suffer distribution problems this year.


4th April

Update: A Bad Image...

Than internet user jailed for 10 years for posting insulting pictures of king

A Thai internet user has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating strict laws against insulting the monarchy.

A court in Bangkok said Suwicha Thakho digitally altered images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family and posted them on the internet.

The court did not say how the pictures were changed or where they appeared, but local media cited YouTube.

Thailand's royal family is sheltered from public debate by some of the world's most stringent lese-majeste laws, as the police and army try to suppress what they fear is a rising tide of anti-monarchy sentiment.

Now up to 7000 blocked pages or websites

Based on article from

On April 1st, Aree Jiworarak, of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, said the Ministry's recently established Internet Security Operations Centre (ISOC) had blocked over 7,000 improper URLs or web pages, which included 1,403 culturally and morally offensive pornographic pages.

Now the Ministry is investigating the case of the pornographic animation clip Ninja Love which was posted at mthai website, and is trying to find the poster for prosecution.


2nd April

Update: Expressing an Opinion...

The latest amongst a dozen cases of lese majeste

Suwicha Thakhor has spent two months in a Thai prison, accused by police of insulting the royal family. He says he should be allowed to express an opinion.

Arrested Jan. 14 and charged in connection with material posted on the Internet, the 34-year-old oil engineer said: We have to be able to think freely. They cannot stop ideas by sending people to jail.

More than a dozen similar cases are pending under Thai law as a widening political divide prompts discussion on the future role of the monarchy.

The lese-majeste law is no different from contempt-of- court laws where you protect institutions that are neutral, that have no self-defense mechanism, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva claimed, he told reporters the law would be reviewed to make it clearer.

Suwicha, wearing a prison-issued yellow shirt emblazoned with a royal insignia, said his views on the monarchy changed after the coup that deposed Thaksin. Police tracked his Web postings, which he wouldn’t discuss, and read his e-mails, he said. He was arrested after dropping his kids off at school.

In the past, people fled to the jungle to share their political beliefs, Suwicha said, referring to a Communist insurgency in the 1970s that was suppressed by the government: Now we have Web sites. If they want to stop it, they must stop the technology itself.

Suwicha, who has twice been denied bail, said he’s hoping for a miracle. If freed, he plans to work on a farm and live a private life. Still, he makes no apologies for his beliefs.


7th March

Update: Unmoderated...

Office of Thai online news website, Prachatai, raided by police

On the same day that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told a meeting of news editors of his intention to restore Thailand's press freedom reputation, police officials raided the offices and arrested the executive director of a popular online news site, Prachatai.

Prachatai's executive director Chiranuch Premchaiporn was arrested when a group of five or six Crime Suppression Division police officials entered the Web site's Bangkok offices. Officers also took copies of the hard drives of some of the office's computers. Chiranuch was later released on bail.

The director was charged under national security-related articles 14 and 15 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for postings apparently critical of the Thai royal family made on one of the site's boards, according to Prachatai. It is unclear if Chiranuch would also be charged under the country's lese majeste law, which criminalizes any criticism of the royal family. Guilty convictions are punishable with a maximum of 15 years in prison.

We call upon the relevant authorities to immediately cease and desist from harassing all online journalists and commentators like Chiranuch Premchaiporn, said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia Program Director : Thailand has unleashed one of the most aggressive crackdowns on Internet freedom seen anywhere in Asia and we strongly urge them to reverse course.

Prachatai has developed a reputation for independent reporting, particularly through its hard-hitting reports on the conflict between government forces and Muslim rebels in the country's three southernmost provinces. The site was threatened with closure last year because of comments deemed harmful to the monarchy posted to one of the site's online public forums.


1st February

Update: Thailand Cast Adrift...

Third issue of The Economist withdrawn from Thailand

The latest issue of The Economist will be withheld from distribution in Thailand for the third time in two months because of its coverage of the country's monarchy, the magazine said.

The British magazine's Thai distributor, Asia Books, refused to deliver copies of its Jan. 31 issue because the article might break the country's strict law against insulting the royal family, the magazine said in an email to subscribers.

The Jan. 31 issue contains an article, entitled A sad slide backwards, that criticizes Thailand for alleged abuse of Muslim migrants from Myanmar known as the Rohingya.

Their plight gained international attention after several boats carrying around 1,000 migrants were intercepted in December by the Thai navy. Human rights groups allege that Thai officers detained and beat them before forcing them back to sea in vessels with no engines and little food or water. Hundreds are believed to have drowned. Thai authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations.

The article's criticism was largely directed at the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Thai military in its handling of the migrants. It made only passing mention of the taboo subject of royal involvement in Thai politics.


27th January

Update: Safety First...

Another issue of The Economist withdrawn from Thailand

Another edition of UK-based current affairs magazine The Economist has been withdrawn in Thailand, amid local fears over its coverage of the royal family.

The Economist's Thai distributor held back Friday's issue - which contains an article about an Australian writer who was jailed for allegedly slandering the monarchy.

Last month another edition was banned because of an article questioning the Thai king's role in public life.

The Economist sent an e-mail to its Asia subscribers stating: This week our distributors in Thailand have decided not to deliver the Economist in light of our coverage relating to the Thai monarchy.


26th January

Update: Pardon Harry...

Australia asks Thailand to pardon Harry Nicolaides

Australia asked Thailand to pardon a writer from Melbourne who received three years in prison for insulting the royal family in three sentences of a novel that sold seven copies.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith made the request in a letter to his Thai counterpart after Harry Nicolaides pleaded guilty this week to defaming the head of state, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and his son.

Now that the legal processes before Thailand’s courts have concluded, Australian officials have advised Thai officials that the Australian government strongly supports Mr. Nicolaides’s pardon application, Smith said in a statement.

The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, which took power last month after backing a royalist protest group, is cracking down on Web sites that insult the king, a crime punishable by as many as 15 years in prison.

Thailand has received the pardon request from Australia’s government and will process it in a timely manner, Tharit Charungvat, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.


25th January

Update: An Education...

Thailand to launch PR campaign to 'educate' foreigners about its lese majeste law

Thailand's Senate has resolved to set up an extraordinary committee to strictly enforce laws in the name of protection of the monarchy following an increasing number of websites found to be offensive to the royal institution.

The Senate voted 90 to 17 to set up an extraordinary panel to follow up on the enforcement of laws and articles relating to the protection of the monarchy is to be headed by national police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan.

Currently, there are over 10,000 websites deemed offensive to the monarchy. The Information and Communication (ICT) Ministry has been able to block only 2,000 sites.

The Justice Ministry will coordinate with the Foreign Ministry to launch a campaign among foreigners to educate them about lese majeste laws.

Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said he would coordinate with the Foreign Ministry to instruct all Thai embassies abroad to launch public relations campaigns about lese majeste laws which impose harsh punishments on those who insult the Thai monarchy.


19th January

Update: 5 Months Per Reader...

Australian author jailed for 3 years for lese majeste้

A court in Thailand has sentenced an Australian author to three years in jail after finding him guilty of insulting the country's royal family.

Appearing in a Bangkok court, Harry Nicolaides, had pleaded guilty to the charges, related to a 2005 novel he authored which reportedly sold just seven copies.

He was convicted under Thailand's lese majeste laws, designed to protect the royal family but which activists say are outdated and stifle free speech.

Passing the court's verdict, the judge initially sentenced Nicolaides to six years in jail, but reduced the sentence to three years because of his guilty plea.

Speaking in court earlier, Nicolaides, who was shackled at the ankles and wore a prison uniform, said he had endured unspeakable suffering since his arrest five months ago and that the case had taken a toll on his health and family.

The case comes as Thai authorities step up prosecutions under the country's controversial laws on lese majeste or insulting the monarchy, which mandates a severe sentence for whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the regent.

Nicolaides, who lived in Thailand from 2003-2005 and taught in the northern city of Chiang Rai, was arrested in August at Bangkok's international airport as he was about to board a flight home to Melbourne. The author was unaware of a warrant issued in March for his arrest in connection with his novel, Verisimilitude , rights group Reporters Without Borders said.

On the day of his conviction he said, from behind bars : This is an Alice in Wonderland experience. I really believe that I am going to wake up and all of you will be gone,
This can’t be real. It feels like a bad dream, he went on, choking back tears. I respect the king of Thailand. I was aware there were obscure laws but I didn’t think they would apply to me.” During his time in jail he had endured “unspeakable suffering, he said, but would not elaborate.


14th January

Update: Insulting Law...

Academic calls for abolition of L่se Majest้ law

A Thai academic who is facing charges of insulting the monarchy called for a campaign to abolish the law under which he could be jailed for 15 years.

Ji Ungpakorn, a prominent activist and political scientist at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, said police have asked to question him over a book he wrote about Thailand's 2006 military coup.

His case is the latest sign of ideological struggle over the role of the monarchy, a subject that was once taboo. There has been a recent spate of complaints and prosecutions for lese majeste — as the charge is called — and increased censorship of Web sites allegedly critical of the institution.

Ji said at a news conference that the lese majeste law, which mandates a jail term of three to 15 years for defaming the king, the queen or the heir to the throne, restricts freedom of speech and expression and does not allow for public accountability and transparency of the institution of the monarchy.

He charged that it is used as a tool by the military, and other authoritarian elites, in order to protect their own interests. He claimed he was being targeted for political reasons because he criticized the military and its coup.

Newly elected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has promised to take all measures to prevent people from defaming the monarchy.


11th January

 Offsite: L่se Majest้...

Thai society passes harsh judgement

See article from


23rd November

Update: Unread and Unfree...

Australian author still held in Thai prison for lèse majesté

Harry Nicolaides is languishing in Bangkok Remand Centre, yet to face trial, over a few sentences in an unread novel.

On August 31 this year, Nicolaides was at Bangkok airport waiting to board a flight to Melbourne when he was detained by Thai police on charges of lese majeste, the crime of insulting the monarchy. The arrest warrant alleged Nicolaides had insulted the Thai royal family in his second book, Verisimilitude , a novel Nicolaides self-published in Thailand in 2005.

For the past 82 days, Nicolaides has been held at the Bangkok Remand Prison, where he shares one toilet with up to 60 other prisoners, including men accused of violent and sexual crimes. He was only formally charged yesterday.

He has retracted the book and publicly apologised to the royal family and the Thai people for any offence caused by his reckless choice of words, but bail has been denied three times.

Few novels as commercially unsuccessful as Verisimilitude — only seven copies were sold — can have caused so much strife for their authors. The alleged offence is believed to concern three sentences in the book in which the narrator refers to rumours concerning the romantic life of an unspecified crown prince.

It is simply one of the most bizarre cases I've ever come across, says Arnold Zable, author and president of the Melbourne branch of International PEN, an organisation that campaigns on behalf of writers in detention around the world.

Nicolaides' case is more unusual than the average unusual case, says Dr David Streckfuss, a historian from the University of Wisconsin who lives in Thailand and specialises in the country's lese majeste laws: It's not clear that any Thai ever read the book in the first place.

When he published Verisimilitude three years ago, Nicolaides took the precaution of sending his book to the National Library, the Thai Ministry of Culture, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of the Royal Household to check that its contents were acceptable. He received no response. When his book was released no one reviewed it and hardly anyone read it. Only 50 copies were printed. There was nothing to suggest that the novel, which was only published in English, hadn't sunk directly into deep obscurity.

But Thai authorities issued a warrant for Nicolaides' arrest on March 17 this year. He was not told he was under investigation. Between March and August, Nicolaides left and re-entered Thailand five times with no sign of trouble. When he was pulled aside by police at passport control on the night of August 31 he was, his brother, Forde Nicolaides, says, alarmed. When Australian embassy staff arrived and explained the allegations, he was absolutely astonished.

Update: Bail Refused Again

11th December 2008. From

Reporters Without Borders repeated its call for the release of Australian author Harry Nicolaides, facing a charge of the crime of lese-majesty, after he was yesterday refused bail by the Bangkok criminal court for the fourth time.

Nicolaides, aged 41, who was formally charged on 21 November 2008, has been held at the capital's remand prison since 31 August. The charge relates to his book, Verisimilitude, which came out in 2005 in which he referred to the way an unamed Crown Prince treated one of his mistresses. Only 50 copies were ever printed.


19th November

Update: Hardly Democratic...

Opposition party propose an extension of lese majeste laws

A group of MPs from the opposition Democrat Party have proposed a draft legislation that would penalise people making defamatory remarks or contemptuous tones against the monarchy on the Internet or via computers.

The proposed law would also punish those who wrongly accuse or attempt to frame up others of such a wrongdoing.

Under the proposed law, anyone putting inaccurate content about the monarchy on the Internet or a computer system faces a jail term of between three to 20 years or a fine ranging from Bt200,000 (£3800) to Bt800,000 (£15,400).

Those uploading defamatory or contemptuous content about the monarchy face an imprisonment of five to 20 years or a fine of between Bt300,000 to Bt800,000.

The law will also punish anyone falsely accusing others of such wrongdoings, with imprisonment of three to 20 years and a fine ranging from Bt200,000 to Bt800,000.

The law also seeks to punish people hiring others to do the job for them, the Internet service provider or computer system administrator who fails to cooperate, as well as repeat offenders.

Based on article from

Critics have blasted the Democrat proposal.

Boonsong Chaisinghananon, a Silapakorn University philosophy lecturer, said the amendments were more likely to serve or be exploited by the Democrats and the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which has often accused others of insulting the monarchy.

The proposers rejected a political movitation behind the amendments and said the ICT minister appoint military personnel to help track internet violators.


4th September


Australian author arrested in Thailand for lèse majesté

An Australian writer has been arrested in Thailand and faces a lese-majeste charge for publishing a novel deemed defamatory to the country's royal family, police and the Australian embassy said.

An embassy official identified the man from Melbourne and police named him as Harry Nicolaides, who was unaware there was an arrest warrant out for him when he tried to fly out from Bangkok to Australia.

An arrest warrant was issued in March for a book he wrote in 2005 deemed defamatory to the crown prince, Police Lieutenant-Colonel Boonlert Kalayanamit told Reuters.

He has been charged with lese-majeste, a crime that can carry a 15-year jail sentence in Thailand, and was being held at a remand prison pending further interviews, Boonlert said.

Nicolaides, a regular visitor to Thailand and briefly a resident, when he taught English and wrote for Australian newspapers, had not been granted bail, police said.

Police identified the novel in question as Verisimilitude , described  as a trenchant commentary on the political and social life of contemporary Thailand.


9th April

Respect for the Law?...

Accusations of lèse majesté in Thailand

A police officer filed a criminal complaint yesterday seeking to have a journalist for the BBC charged with insulting His Majesty the King.

Pol Lt-Col Wattanasak Mungkandee said he filed a complaint against British reporter Jonathan Head in connection with remarks he allegedly made when moderating a panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Dec 13 entitled Coup, Capital and Crown. Lese majeste carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Pol Lt-Col Wattanasak said the police's Crime Suppression Division will have to translate the evidence he presented to see whether it would pursue the case.

Update: Charged

13th April 2008

The charge against Jonathan Head was filed on 8 April 2008 by Pol Lt Wattanasak Mungkitjakarndee, Investigation Officer of Bang Mot Police Station, seconded to Phaholyothin Police Station. Pol Lt Wattanasak alleged that during the FCCT seminar Head used phases that constitute a violation of the laws on lèse majesté.

Pol Lt Wattanasak then gathered evidence in the form of a CD of the seminar, an English transcript of Head's speech, and a Thai translation and handed this to Pol Maj Boonlert Kalayanamit, an Investigation Officer at the Crime Suppression Division. Pol Lt Wattanasak has also filed a similar charge against the Committee of the FCCT.

Taking a Stand

See full article from Prachatai

A Thai man and his female friend have been charged by police with lèse majesté for not standing for the royal anthem at a movie theatre in Bangkok late last year.

On April 5, 2008, Pathumwan District Police called to Chotisak Onsung and his friend, asking them to visit the police station to hear the charge for the offence alleged by Navamintr Witthayakul who was among the cinema audience.

A panel under the National Police Committee will make the final decision on whether to pursue the case or not.

On September 20, 2007, Chotisak and his friend went to a cinema in Central World shopping complex in downtown Bangkok. They were urged by Navamintr to stand up for the royal anthem which precedes every movie shown in Thailand's cinemas, and they had a heated argument with the man.

They claimed that they were physically abused. Afterwards they filed complaints at a police station against Navamintr for verbal and physical abuse, damage to personal property and coercion, while Navamintr filed a lèse majesté complaint against them.

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