Thailand: Speed up lese majeste inquiries: PM

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked four agencies to speed up their investigations into lese majeste cases regarding unlawful online content and to take legal action against the suspects.
  • Gen Prayut said he had impressed upon the agencies the need to closely monitor lese majeste offences on social media and to curb fake news currently being spread online about the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta.
  • The TCSD had on 9 Jan 21 summoned anti-government protest leaders Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul — who are now among a number of people facing lese majeste charges in connection with the anti-government protests – to turn up in person and acknowledge charges of violating the Computer Crime Act.
  • The two, however, opted to give a written statement instead; the TCSD agreed but asked them to submit their written statements by 14 Jan 21, said a source.
  • If the two fail to lodge their statements in time, the TCSD said it will proceed with the current allegations against them and present them to prosecutors for further legal action to be taken.
  • The TCSD is also pursuing legal action against more than 20 other suspects facing charges for online posts that allegedly breach the lese majeste laws.
  • The DES Ministry has also submitted a number of court-approved orders regarding online lese majeste activities to the foreign companies which own Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and a number of websites, along with a request to suspend public access to 9,192 posts containing what is regarded as lese majeste content, according to the source.

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