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Censorship Government News

Thailand Jails Dissident For What People Thought He Would Have Said 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-mime-no-evil dept.
patiwat writes "A Thai court has convicted a man for censoring himself. In a 2010 anti-government rally, Yossawarit Chuklom said several people were against the dissolution of Abhisit Vejjajiva's government. He mentioned a few names, and then put his hand over his mouth and said he wasn't brave enough to continue. A court ruled that he would have mentioned King Bhumibol Adulyadej — thus earning him a conviction for insulting the King, who is constitutionally banned from any political role."
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Thailand Jails Dissident For What People Thought He Would Have Said

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  • Damned (Score:3, Interesting)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:39AM (#42625295)
    They are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Since they are now a country filled only with criminals, they may as well act like it and make sure all of the government is represented by criminals like themselves.

    Of course, I don't have much room to talk... as I live in America, land of the arbitrarily scheduled herbs and weapon restrictions set up to make sure that everyone has bomb making supplies or some other contraband in their homes.
  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:39AM (#42625297) Homepage

    I do not see why the court would be against his self censorship.
    I can see jailing someone who was forcibly stopped from saying something that was illegal, there are tons of laws in the west where what someone thinks you would of done is applicable (even if you have not yet committed any crimes).
    But it sounds like Thailand wants its citizens to self censor, so why punish it?

  • by alen (225700) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:46AM (#42625339)

    Florida has lots of ex-cubans who hate castro. florida is a battleground state
    if a candidate supports lifting sanctions the ex-cuban population is enough to guarantee the loss of those electoral votes

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:00AM (#42625453)

    Your reasoning is wrong.

    While it is true that a court can make reasonable inferences, as in your example, that is not what the court did at all. They made a huge jump. While the court claimed to be doing such a reasonable inference, the court was in fact lying through it's fascist, censoring teeth. Only a fool believes the word of a fascist censor.

    The question is not what a Thailand, fascist, censoring court would do, but instead what a fair court would do.

    The main problem is that the law he is being accused of violating does not say "You can't say the name." If it had, then you and the court would be correct.

    No, the law says you can't actually insult or defame the king.

    He stopped short of insulting the king. It does not matter that he communicated what he felt about the king, what matters is did he actually insult or defame him.

    Yes it was clear he was talking about the king. So what? It is legal to talk about the king. The question is not whether or not he was referring to the king, the question is whether or not he did so in an insulting or defaming manner.

    When it comes to insults and defamation, then often it hinges on what the exact words are. When you leave out words, you cease to insult and defame.

    If I say "President Bush failed to catch Bin Laden", that is the truth. If I say "President Bush was so incompetent he failed to catch Bin Laden", that is an insult.

    If I say "President Bush was so..... he failed to catch Bin Laden", then I have studiously avoided insulting him. Yes, you personally may think I meant to do it, but I refused to actually do it.

    The law in question was about insulting and defaming the King. It was not about thinking about insulting or defaming the King. The poor victim thought about insulting and defaming the King, but refused to do so.

    As such, he is innocent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:34AM (#42625701)

    Nobody in Thailand believes the King is omniscient. Nor do they believe he is the reincarnation of anybody. They are just really uptight about having him disrespected or made into a political football. Which actually isn't as irrational as it sounds, when you consider that it is about the only way you could possibly cause a civil war in this country.

    But while laughing at the stupid "easterners", remember that your President and 80% of your countrymen purport to believe that after death they will be brought back to life by a magical carpenter who was nailed to a tree 2000 years ago, that a 900 year old man fit a breeding pair of every single animal species on a boat he built himself, and that the greatest ethical issue of our time is whether or not the government should issue marriage certificates to two blokes. Significantly stupider convictions than the invented ones the parent post finds so amusing.

    Also check out what happened (and how many people died) when the dissidents he was addressing tried to burn down Bangkok shortly after this. Then try and tell me they wouldn't have found something to convict him for in the US too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @12:04PM (#42625965)

    In fairness, I agree the AC was being a bit of a dick. But the point to which he is reacting emotionally does seem worth exploring.

    How far should we, those outraged by this king's treatment of his people, go to do something about it?

    If hard disk sales drop 2% due to every existing geek moving to SSDs, will that change the King's mind about anything?

    Amazon and Google cannot provide their current level of services at anywhere near the price point that they do if they immediately abandon rotating media, and they dwarf our HD purchases. I am uncomfortably reminded that in the U.S. I'm a citizen, who can bring the fight to the doorstep of big money interests, by voting, buying and referending. On the world stage, I am a peasant who, due to his lack of wealth is no more capable pressuring this king than my centuries back british ancestors were of pressuring theirs.

    I don't *like* being reminded of this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @12:15PM (#42626055)

    It's a case of culture clash. I spent a year there in 1974 while in the USAF, and literally everything there was completely different than here, including the colors of the sky, dirt, and vegetation, but especially the people. In the US, hookers are laughed at, jailed, scorned. In Thailand they are respected. Flipping someone the bird is meaningless there, but point your foot at someone and you're looking at a fistfight (actually, a foot fight; Thai boxing makes extensive use of feet). I once had a gun stuck in my face for refusing a shot of whiskey; it turned out that refusing a gift is a grave insult. Funnier was the guy was cool after I drank the shot.

    And they revere the king. His picture is on every coin and bill, so if you're there do NOT step on money! Stepping on money is incredibly dangerous. Of course, being American I consider the idea of royalty itself to be absurd and wonder why my British cousins need them?

    But if you're going to refuse to buy from Thailans because of this, you're pretty much stuck with only buying things from your own country, because every foreign country is going to have something normal to them that is atrocious to you (and vice versa). Like kings, or censorship, or guns, or burqas, or drugs, or drug laws, or something you consider corrupt where they think not having it is corrupt.

    If you want a world econiomy, you're going to have to put up with other cultures' things you hate -- like guns, or gun laws, or censorship, or pornography, or royalty, or religion...

    (mcgrew here, can't seem to be able to log in on this PC)

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:35PM (#42626741) Homepage
    Not at all accurate. The King pardons people after they've been in jail (since they generally don't get any bail) for weeks or months, and even after convictions he takes time to pardon them, and then gets to be all generous. The King could if he wanted too, tell people that he doesn't like the law and they should get rid of it. He, and his people are together stamping on others basic ability for the most important forms of free speech- the ability to criticize their government. So fuck him, and fuck the monarchy and fuck their laws. Fuck em.
  • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:50PM (#42626895)

    And they revere the king. His picture is on every coin and bill, so if you're there do NOT step on money! Stepping on money is incredibly dangerous. Of course, being American I consider the idea of royalty itself to be absurd and wonder why my British cousins need them?

    Clearly you have not been paying attention to the antics in DC. If you're British/Australian/etc. when some idiot decides to bring the entire government to a halt as a negotiating tactic you can close your eyes and pretend Grandma (aka: Her Majesty the Queen) will fix it. She may not (she didn't solve Australia's Constitutional Crisis in 1975), but she could.

    Sometimes she even does. Canada's Prorogation Crises was solved largely because she realized that letting the Tories get their way for two months (ie: proroguing Parliament from December 4th to January 26th) would not actually hurt anyone, but agreeing to the Opposition's demands could force a new election a few months after the old. If the Opposition actually had the votes in Parliament to govern the country in early December they'd clearly also have those votes in late January, but it they only had the votes to dump Harper, then Harper would be dumped, nobody would run the country for a few moths while they proved they had no plan (literally nobody -- they hadn't agreed who should be Prime Minister), and then everyone would have to pay for a new election. Which Harper probably would have won because a) in october he'd won, and b) would you vote for those morons?

    Granted the person who actually did this crap was the Governor-General, but it was widely reported that Governor-General Jean only did those things after consulting with the Queen; and the Canadians got a whole lot of shit for that. It never seemed to occur to anyone that she's got hundreds of years of experience being Monarch of a Westminster-system Democracy (50 years ad Queen of England, Jamaica, Barbados etc. adds up), which is quite useful when something weird happens.

    But if you're going to refuse to buy from Thailans because of this, you're pretty much stuck with only buying things from your own country, because every foreign country is going to have something normal to them that is atrocious to you (and vice versa). Like kings, or censorship, or guns, or burqas, or drugs, or drug laws, or something you consider corrupt where they think not having it is corrupt.

    If you want a world econiomy, you're going to have to put up with other cultures' things you hate -- like guns, or gun laws, or censorship, or pornography, or royalty, or religion...

    (mcgrew here, can't seem to be able to log in on this PC)

    Heck, you're stuck with not buying anything, ever,

    I've never met a geek who does not have significant problems with his own government, an obscure plan to fix said problems, and extreme frustration that everyone else is not passionate about replacing first-pass-the-post with proportional representation via the Condorcet method.

    Thailand has it's problems. They are definitely way too protective of their King to be a good Democracy. But they don't have a debt ceiling, or a Speaker of the House who thinks he has a mandate to thwart a President who won (by almost 5 million) despite losing the popular vote by more then a million.

  • by meerling (1487879) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:29PM (#42627389)
    From the reports I've seen over the last 5 years, the King himself neither likes nor supports this law, and has publicly spoken out against it, however the government in charge refuses to do anything about it. (Other than using it as a spike club against people they don't like.)
  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:24PM (#42628037) Journal

    We don't *need* them.

    Actually I disagree - we do need them for two reasons. First the monarch can break up political log jams by either dissolving or proroging parliament as required. This is a very limited power but used at the right time can keep the system flowing smoothly. Second having a monarch avoids the need for yet another clueless politician who only cares about getting reelected and will likely cost the tax payer far more than the monarch they replace.

    While a monarchy may be somewhat old fashioned the only reason to get rid of something old which works is to replace it with something better. Frankly I have yet to see evidence that there is a better system out there. Given that power rests almost entirely with the elected parliaments I fail to see any gain in replacing a hereditary monarchy with, what will effectively be, an elected one.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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