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Thailand 12 October 2007

Charges dropped against blogger who was arrested under new cyber-crime law

Reporters Without Borders calls on the Thai authorities to explain the situation of the blogger known by the pseudonym Praya Pichai, who had been facing up to 10 years in prison under the new Computer Crime Act until charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

“Even if the charges have been dropped, he has not been cleared,” the press freedom organisation said. “Anything he says or does on the Internet will be monitored for the next 10 years, during which he could be imprisoned if he posts another political comment on a website. Such control is excessive and his situation must therefore be clarified before more arrests occur.”


07.09.07 : Blogger Praya Pichai freed on bail, faces up to ten years in prison

Reporters Without Borders urges the Thai authorities to drop all charges against a blogger using the pseudonym Praya Pichai who was arrested last month under the new Computer Crime Act and who was released on bail yesterday.

“The charges against this blogger must be withdrawn as soon as possible,” the organisation said. “They pose a threat to online free expression and highlight the abuses that can result from this new cyber-crime law.”

According to the website Prachatai.com, the blogger has been charged under section 14 of Computer Crime Act, which provides for a sentence of up to ten years in prison for “false data” that can cause injury to persons, the public, national security or public disorder.


05.09.07 : Blogger reportedly held under new computer crime law

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about the reported detention of a Thai blogger for the past 12 days under the new Computer Crime Act, which took effect on 18 July.

“We call on the information and communications technology ministry to take an official position on this arrest, which would be the first of its kind since the adoption of the Computer Crime Act,” the press freedom organisation said. “It confirms our fears about the dangers of a law that is supposed to combat pornography but turns out to be a way of restricting and controlling press freedom.”

The website site Prachatai.com quotes a “reliable source” as saying a 36-year-old computer programmer was arrested because of comments posted anonymously on web forums. The offending post appears to have been one deemed “critical of the monarchy.” After being held for six days at the Police Crime Suppression Division office, he was reportedly transferred to a Bangkok prison on 30 August.

The Computer Crime Act allows the police to seize computer files from people suspected of circulating insulting or pornographic messages. Information and communications technology ministry spokesman Vissanu Meeyoo said at the time its aim was “to prevent the owners of computers from transmitting pornographic content or libellous messages.




In this country
20 May - Thailand
Internet censorship to be followed by censorship of radio and TV
29 April - Thailand
Reporters Without Borders and 31 other organisations urge Thai government to amend lese majeste law
27 April - Thaïland
Censorship lifted on some websites
3 April - Thaïland
Internet user gets ten years in jail for posting content that “defamed” monarchy
3 March - Thailand
Leading Swiss TV reporter arrested, then forbidden to leave country

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