Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the detention in Thailand of an
Australian writer accused of offending the monarchy in a novel published
several years ago.
Harry Nicolaides was detained on August 31 as he was about to board a
flight to Australia, and has
been held in a remand centre in Bangkok
to await trial, according to news reports.
He is accused under Thailand’s
lese majeste laws of offending the country’s monarchy in a novel released three
years ago. Fifty copies were printed,
according to news reports.
The case underscores the IFJ’s concerns about Thailand’s severe
and anachronistic lese majeste laws and the manner in which they are used
frequently by power-holders to silence criticism.
harsh lese majeste laws are commonly used by people in power – or those seeking
it – to limit freedom of expression and shut down voices of dissent in the
country,” IFJ Asia-Pacific.
laws underlie widespread self-censorship among Thailand’s population, and impede
independent and critical reporting by both local and foreign journalists in the
country. Even reporting on lese majeste cases puts the media at risk of repeating
the alleged offence.
IFJ condemns the continued application
of lese majeste laws against those who seek to express their views freely.”
Thailand's lese majeste laws are among the strictest in the world. The constitution
dictates reverence for the King must not be violated, while the criminal code
allows for a penalty of three to 15 years’ jail for “defaming, insulting or
threatening” the King, Queen, Heir-apparent or Regent. Lese majeste complaints
can be filed by any individual and police are required to investigate all
the King made a public statement in 2005 that he could indeed be criticised, complaints continue to be filed.
The IFJ calls on authorities to drop the case and release
For further information
contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612
The IFJ represents over 600,000 in
122 countries worldwide