Thursday 1.9.2016 in Expression in Thailand Country Page
The military government has carried out a meticulous campaign to curtail freedom of expression since taking power in 2014. As a result, the authorities now exert complete control over journalists, the internet and media outlets. Under the law, regulators have powers to shut down media outlets without a right of appeal. The mass intimidation of dissidents, critics and journalists has led to over 800 individuals being sent to “attitude adjustment” programmes run by the government. A carefully implemented campaign has sought to silence anyone opposing the junta by exploiting the lack of an independent judiciary using vague legislation such as insulting the king or state, or defamation. Furthermore, the authorities have even tightened the visa regulations for foreign journalists in a bid to prevent critical voices in the international arena. The media frequently practice self-censorship in order to survive. During the recent referendum on the new constitution, anyone opposing or criticising the draft could be sentenced to ten years in jail. Similarly, cybercrime legislation grants the government sweeping powers to arbitrarily block online content; stamping out one of the last arenas for independent dissent in Thailand.