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ICNL – Freedom of Expression in Thailand

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

Since the rekindling of the democratic movement and political activism in Thailand in 2019, there has been an uptake in the usage of the Computer Crime Act (CCA) against those using the internet and social media for political expression. Despite its amendment in 2017, the CCA has retained many of the problematic, vaguely-worded provisions that allow for the criminalisation of freedom of expression. To justify the persecution of online users under the CCA, online criticism directed at the government has been treated as ‘fake news’ or ‘disinformation’ affecting national security or public morality.

EngageMedia, in partnership with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), is conducting in-depth research to identify the impact of the CCA on freedom of expression in Thailand. Under this project, EngageMedia will produce an evidence-based policy paper drawing from desk research and consultations with human rights lawyers, professionals in the technology sector, policy advocates, and members of the academe. The project also involves an impact campaign to stimulate engagement with local audiences in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific region.

Through these activities, the project aims to:

  • Increase awareness and capacity of the Thai public to acknowledge how the CCA affects their digital rights, and how to safeguard freedom of expression online
  • Strengthen the network of digital rights advocates, technology experts, and human rights lawyers in Thailand.

Project partners include the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, an organisation working to improve the legal environment for civil society, and research institute Asia Centre.

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