Thailand to prosecute for coup rumor 'likes'

Don Sambandaraksa
telecomasia.net
Anyone liking or sharing rumours of a coup on social media in Thailand is seen as damaging national security, and can be punished by up to 5 years in jail and 100,000 baht ($3,200) in fines.
 
Last week the political editor of TV station Thai PBS Sermsuk Kakisitpradit and three other Facebook users were summoned by police for writing and sharing news about a possible coup as thousands of anti-Government protesters amassed to protest an amnesty bill that would have pardoned Thaksin Shinawatra from his two-year prison term for conflict of interest.
 
The Nation interviewed police major-general Pisit Pao-In, commander of the technology crime suppression division who reaffirmed that his department can and would take action against anyone who, by liking a message, increases the credibility of a coup rumour under both the penal code and the computer misuse act.
 
“I'm not prohibiting [you] from pressing 'like'. But if you 'like' this kind of message, you will be arrested,” he said.
 
Pisit said that the TSD would only focus on cases of political violence that otherwise would lead to bad news in foreign press that would affect confidence in Thailand.
 
Soon after Sermsuk Kasitipradit was summoned to be indicted, the Thai journalists association, the IT press club and other media groups condemned the move as heavy-handed government intimidation of the media. They have accused the state of violating freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution.

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