followed up the previous post (get the media kit there).
[ ผ่าน pittaya ]
Internet users and bloggers
who support rights and freedom of expression on the Internet
29 May 2008
Subject: A call for accountability from Thepthai Senpong and Thailand's Democrat Party, and a call for all netizens to safeguard our rights and freedom of expression on the Internet
Reference is made to the disclosure made by Thepthai Senpong, the Democrat Party’s Assistant Secretary-General, of 29 websites that are allegedly “dangerous websites” that have lèse majesté content. He demanded that government and the Minister of Information and Communication Technology take action against such websites. This story has been widely reported in the news media.
We, the undersigned, would like to express our stance on this issue as follows:
1. We believe that the right and freedom of expression, especially the expression of diverse viewpoints that differ from the establishment’s views, must be respected and protected.
Every democratic society that wishes to see peace and harmony must fully support and protect its people’s freedom of speech. Mutual respect and understanding is one of the most crucial ingredients of peace in a society in which members are different and diverse. The only way we can learn to move toward such goal of mutual respect and understanding is by fostering an environment in which everyone feels free to express his or her opinions fully and responsibly.
The door that leads us toward mutual respect and understanding will slam shut as soon as our mouths and hearts are silenced.
2. We disagree with using the monarchy as a tool to achieve political goals.
Most of the websites and blogs that Thepthai identified are not full of content or information that can be considered offensive to the monarchy. Many websites present information that are academic in nature, full of supporting data and rationale. Thepthai’s indiscriminating allegation that lumped all these websites into one category is therefore a gross error that resulted from the lack of thorough fact-checking, an easy way of putting pressure to silence differing opinions without regard to due process, a way of using the monarchy as a political tool to destroy political opponents, and instigate harmful discordance among Thai people. All of these points show an alarming lack of the democratic spirit.
We, the undersigned, hereby demand that Thepthai Senpong and the Democrat Party show accountability for the aforementioned act, stop the wrongful slander against websites or persons, and immediately stop putting pressure or creating the momentum to suppress freedom of speech in whatever shape or form.
In addition, since Thepthai Senpong’s action was not the first time that allegation of lèse majesté was used as a tool to silence opponents, and since we still see such an unacceptable act in many instances occur regularly, whether at the hands of public officials, politicians, or members of the press, we also hereby demand every party to stop such a behavior.
Lastly, we would like to invite all netizens and citizens to use our right and freedom of speech equitably and responsibly, to jointly monitor and protect the Internet so that it may always remain the common space for learning, seeking wisdom, and accepting diverse viewpoints of fellow human beings, whether or not we agree with them.
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