Just a quick note to point out that Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws, which make it illegal to insult the royal family, are very much in the news these days.
Here’s a cell phone photo of today’s Bangkok Post front page:
The main story seen above — “Royalists step into lese majeste row” — says:
The controversy over Article 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese majeste law, is heating up with royalist group Siam Samakkhi (United Siam) deploring the UN, the US and the European Union for “attempting to interfere” in the country’s judicial system.
The group said the critics lacked understanding of the constitutional monarchy after they called for reforms of the lese majeste law.
The international community appears troubled by recent court rulings in two lese majeste cases. It says they are inconsistent with international standards of freedom of expression.
Siam Samakkhi said criticism of the lese majeste law is based on partial information and a lack of understanding about the consequences of violating the lese majeste law.
And today’s Nation reports:
The US Embassy in Bangkok got a taste of sorts of the “freedom of expression” medicine after Thai political rivals faced off with plenty of obscenities on its Facebook page over the past few days.
With some comments disappearing from the Facebook page yesterday, questions were asked if the embassy really adheres to the democratic principles it preaches. In a reply to a Twitter user, American Ambassador Kristie Kenny said, “As you know, we welcome a vibrant exchange of views. Just ask that it be kept civilised and respectful of all involved”.
A U.S. Embassy statement today notes:
This message is to alert you that on Friday, December 16th, a large group—possibly as many as 1200 people—will gather in front of the U.S. Embassy on Wireless Road. The exact time of the demonstration is unknown, but most of the demonstrators are expected to arrive between 1300 and 1600 hours.
(All emphasis mine.)
More soon on the topic of lèse-majesté, I’m sure. But I wanted to share these links for now.