Mon, 20/06/2011 – 15:54 | by prachatai
Groups of academics and readers have launched online petitions to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code.
The Santi Prachatham group, which includes prominent academics like former Rector of Thammasat University Charnvit Kasetsiri and historian Thongchai Winichakul, has urged politicians to show their position on the lèse majesté law in the run-up to the general elections on 3 July.
They say in their statement that after the coup in 2006 the number of arrests under the lèse majesté law, or Article 112 of the Criminal Code, coupled with the 2007 Computer Crimes Act, has shown an unprecedented increase and tends to escalate further, under the impetus of the Department of Special Investigation.
Those alleged of committing lèse majesté have often been subject to a legal process which denies their fundamental rights, while most media chooses to censor itself, resulting in little or no scrutiny at all on the issue.
They believe that amendment of the lèse majesté law is the only way to ensure the stability of the institution and guarantee the rights and freedoms of the people.
In the meantime, a group of readers is also running a similar campaign in support of the call recently made by a group of writers to amend the law.
According to their statement, persecution under the lèse majesté law has created a climate of fear in society, causing many to silence themselves. Over 300 writers who have signed the petition to amend the law have been subject to a ‘cyber witch hunt’, which includes verbal attacks and threats to burn their books.
They say that those in power should be aware that readers have their own judgment. To ban books and censor content in the internet is a severe restriction of the freedom of human beings.
They urge other readers to support the writers’ call to amend Article 112.