Lѐse majesté laws used to stifle press freedom in Thailand

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses strong concern for the banning of an event at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Thailand (FCCT) by Thailand’s military junta. The IFJ urges the military junta to end its increasingly repressive stance towards press freedom and the media in Thailand.Last week, on Thursday July 11, the police on behalf of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) sent a letter to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Thailand (FCCT) banning an event that was to be held this week at the FCCT on June 17. The letter said that the event, "would sow disunity in Thai society, and encourage people to break the law and stir unrest." After receiving the letter, FCCT said they were going to ignore the order; however, police then advised they would deploy soldiers to seal off the FCCT building.Under Thailand’s lѐse majesté law, which is defined in Article 12 of the penal code bans anyone from violating the Thai monarchy’s king, queen, heir or regent. If found guilty, one can face up to 15 years in prison.The IFJ said: “Since the coup in May 2014, press freedom and freedom of expression in Thailand have been under constant threat. Journalists and media workers are regularly intimidated, and this most recent incident, the second in just this month, highlights the situation they face. We call on the military junta to take immediate steps to secure freedom of expression within the country.”

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