[ View the story "Thailand's lese majeste crackdown" on Storify] Thailand's lese majeste crackdown Insulting Thailand's king is a serious crime, but are recent cases more about politics than protecting the monarchy?
The Stream· Tue, Jan 06 2015 21:33:46
Since taking power in May 2014, Thailand's military government has come under scrutiny for their heavy-handed application of a decades-old law written to protect the Thai royal family.
While some say enforcement of lese majeste maintains social order, critics
that the law has long been used as a political tool by those in power to silence their own opponents.
The military junta,
by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has made additional steps to find offenders online, calling on companies like Google and Facebook to
remove or block content
them in pursuing violators.
They can shut down websites but they can't shut down the truth. Truth stays forever. #LèseMajestéCONNIE
@AJStream @locke Challenges are many. Can't have discussions about the law and details of charges are rarely made public. #LeseMajesteIrene Poetranto
@locke @AJStream Because #Thailand's #lesemajeste laws are vague and overly broad (with harsh criminal sanctions)
On social media, some criticised authorities' use of lese majeste laws:
@AJStream The lese majeste law prevents people in Thailand from describing society way that truly differs from the established view.Pravit Rojanaphruk
@locke The royalist side simply uses LM as a method of justifying its claim to defense of the monarchy and asserting its royalist identity.Emjay
Joining the government's efforts, groups such as the Rubbish Collection Organisation have cropped up online to publicly name and shame individuals believed to have violated lese majeste. The group's Facebook
has attracted more than 200,000 likes.
Attention to lese majeste laws has grown after a number of widely publicised protests and
in the country.
Student Sentenced To Jail For Insulting Monarchy on Facebook
#Thailand #lesemajesteStephan Wiedemann
In #Thailand, military charged academic with #LeseMajeste for raising doubts about ancient Thai king's elephant battle 400 years ago.Sunai
Thai radio host jailed by military court for five years for royal defamation. Draconian and archaic law. #lesemajeste
The Stream asked its online community to share their opinions on how lese majeste is used:
What are the challenges in discussing #Thailand's #LeseMajeste laws? Tweet your thoughts for Tuesday's show:
@locke @PravitR @AJStream No offense, but can this question be thoroughly answered without violating LM laws?Bangkok Watchdog