Thai Gets Ten Years For YouTube Post

Suwicha Thakhor, a Thai national, has been sentenced to ten years (reduced from twenty) for uploading content to YouTube that violated Thailand’s medieval lese majeste laws and a junta-era cybercrime law. The exact details of Thakhor’s alleged insult to Thailand’s aging monarch are unknown. The three judge panel presidinginstructed reporters not to take notes. In short, his story:

Suwicha’s nightmare began on Jan. 14, when the oil engineer was arrested and charged by the police for posting a video clip on the YouTube website that was considered to be defaming the royal family. He had done so using a pseudonym.

The police had tracked his web postings and read his e-mails, according to his wife, Thitima Thakhor. ”He was arrested after he had dropped his children at school.”

To me, it no longer seems useful to wonder aloud whether a majority of Thais think lese majeste laws are good. For the most paltry offense — for the smallest shred of free expression — Thakhor was slammed with TEN YEARS. It’s Soviet. It’s Burmese. And it’s wrong.

New Mandala is right on to ask why the monarch, reputedly uneasy about the law, doesn’t speak more forcefully for reform. Regardless, the internet is accelerating a collision course between free speech (its natural tendency) and thuggish laws built to muffle satire and dissent. Who will win globally is not yet clear.

I wish I could say that to one side is stands a progressive path toward greater civil liberties and to the other self-defeating censorship regimes crumbling under the weight of isolation and sanctions. But when democracies, stable or emerging, lock up YouTubers on inflated “national security” charges, it’s hard not to feel dulled by pessimism and false hope.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Current Events, Free Speech, Ideas. Comments Off on Thai Gets Ten Years For YouTube Post

Comments are closed.