Piyanut Kotsan, Director of Amnesty International Thailand, enumerates the human and digital rights issues and violations occurring during the recent youth-led protests in Thailand, from the disproportionate use of laws against dissenting opinions and the increase in online harassment against young protesters.
This episode was recorded on October 15, 2020, the day the Thai government enacted an emergency decree restricting physical gatherings as part of its response to curb the continued protests in the country. The video version of this episode will be available on October 19.
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- #WhatsHappeningInThailand? Check out our post explaining the situation, as well as this article that details how young activists have been using social media and the Internet for protests, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Members of the Coconet community have also collated a list of resources and ways to show solidarity with the Thai protesters.
- Watch a video on Tattep “Ford” Ruangprapaikitseree of Free Youth, one of the most vocal groups of protesters in the country. Original video by Prachatai, English subtitles facilitated by EngageMedia.
- Amnesty International has been releasing statements on the current protests, and has launched a petition to free the imprisoned activists:
- “Thailand: More arrests amid ‘drastic’ emergency order banning gatherings“, released October 15, 2020
- “Thailand: More peaceful activists arrested and charged amidst pro-democracy protests“, released August 20, 2020
- #FreePeopleTH: Sign the petition to free pro-democracy protesters
- The latest emergency decree, announced the day this podcast episode was recorded, is yet another way the Thai government is attempting to stop the protests sweeping the country. The petition website Change.org is also still banned in Thailand as of posting.
- Aside from the long-standing lese majeste law in Thailand, another law that has disproportionately affected critical opinions on the Thai government is the Computer Crimes Act. The government’s Anti-Fake News Centre has also been criticised for restricting freedom of expression both online and offline.
- Discussed during the episode are the roles of Big Tech and social media platforms in protecting activists’ freedom of expression online. For reference, we highlighted Facebook’s takedown of the “Royalist Marketplace group” and Tinder’s removal of users who included pro-protest statements on their profiles.
- The shrinking civic spaces and curtailment of freedom of expression online are not just happening in Thailand. Many other countries in the region are in the same situation.
- Capacitating protesters on how to practice digital security was also raised as a way for the international community to show solidarity. Here’s a guide on digital safety (in Thai) that can be shared.