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“Does Thailand plan to continue swinging between military coups and civilian rule?” Thanathorn

Maya Taylor

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“Does Thailand plan to continue swinging between military coups and civilian rule?” Thanathorn | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: asia.nikkei.com

“It is about time we make some noise and guide our society out of this cycle.”

Appearing at the Thai Constitutional Court, in defence of his media shareholding case, Future Forward’s party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit used his written closing statement to ask judges if they were happy for Thailand to continue swinging back and forth between civilian rule and military coups.

Thai PBS World reports that Thanathorn, who held a significant share in the V Luck Media company, says the company closed down on November 26 last year, prior to the Royal Decree on January 23 which announced a general election for March 24.

He insists it was not a media company, saying its magazines had nothing to do with politics and were not politically biased in any way. He points out that the magazines produced by the company included such publications as Who magazine, for which V Luck produced the last issue, along with an in-flight magazine for Nok Air and Wealth magazine for Siam Commercial Bank.

Thanathorn claims that the reason he’s had to defend himself in court is not really due to his stake in a media company, but because he dared to challenge the junta’s stranglehold on Thai politics. He says he created the Future Forward party by following proper legal procedure with the aim of amending the Constitution by peaceful and legal means.

“I have a dream that everybody is equal and there is rule of law, a dream of Thailand being prosperous and with no more coups. Is having these dreams a cardinal sin?”

Thanathorn says he’ll accept the court’s findings when it delivers its verdict on November 20 but that he plans to continue trying to fulfill his political aims, asking the judges if they really want to see the country continue back and forth between military coups and civilian leadership.

“Several judges are over 70 and have gone through several coups, while I was born in 1978 and have been through four coups. Do we want society to carry on like this? It is about time to review our history over the past ten years. It is about time we make some noise and guide our society out of this cycle.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Thailand’s emergency decree extended again

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s emergency decree extended again | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s nationwide Emergency Decree has been extended again, this time until the end of February. The decree gives the Thai government the ability to set policies and procedures to prevent the control the spread of Covid-19… things like restricting travel, setting up road checkpoints and introducing other restrictions without having to consult the parliament.

All the latest articles about Thailand’s Covid-19 situation are on one page HERE.

Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri says it is just an extension of the decree that is currently in place that was initially set to end on January 15. The extension, adding on another 45 days, was proposed by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and approved by the Thai Cabinet this week.

The initial emergency decree was enacted in March last year and has been extended ever since.

The number of local Covid-19 infections has spiked since the outbreak at the Samut Sakhon seafood market last month, spreading to 55 of Thailand’s 77 provinces. The ‘second wave’ has stemmed from a cluster of migrant workers in the nation’s seafood industry and markets in the Gulf of Thailand coastal province, as well as cluster of infections focussed on illegal gambling dens, principally in the eastern coastal provinces and Bangkok.

Here’s a video about the new Mor Chana app which you will probably be required to use if you are travelling around Thailand at this time…

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Politics

YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint

The Thaiger

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YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint | The Thaiger
PHOTO: R.A.D.

A music video by a pro-democracy movement band was blocked on YouTube in Thailand due to a legal complaint from the government, according to the message posted on the video’s page.

The band Rap Against Dictatorship, also known as RAD, made a post on their Facebook fan page saying that the music video for their song “Reform” was blocked on YouTube.

“Happy New Year everyone. Our new music video has been blocked. This is obviously the ‘New Year Gift’ from the government.”

The band members are active in the pro-democracy movement and 2 of them are currently facing criminal charges relating to a protest in July.

The song conveys a definition of the word ‘reform’ in the Thai language and mentions the current problems in Thailand, including politics, social inequality and the right of protesters to seek justice.

The music video had footage from recent protests in Bangkok including clips from rallies in October and November where water cannons were deployed, some spraying tear gas on pro-democracy protesters.

The music video was first released in about mid-November and reached over 300,000 views on YouTube within 9 hours. It now has over 9 million views. The band was told that the music video is against the law without any other explanations from YouTube or government agencies.

RAD made a reputation with its previous work “Prathet Ku Mi” (“Which is My Country”) released last year and it went viral across the country. The group was also recognised one of the three winners of the 2019 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent that was presented in 2019 at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

SOURCE: Facebook|Prachathai English

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Multiple challenges to Thai PM’s leadership have failed

Maya Taylor

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Multiple challenges to Thai PM’s leadership have failed | The Thaiger
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Some compare him to Teflon for his ability to survive all manner of allegations, because the legal challenges keep coming and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha keeps winning. The Thai PM has now survived 3 legal challenges to his leadership, not to mention the countless calls for his resignation that were a hallmark of the recent pro-democracy protests. It’s probably safe to say he’s not going anywhere for a while.

The first challenge to the PM’s leadership came in September of last year, when he fought off an ombudsman ruling that he had not recited the full oath of office while being sworn in the previous July. In that case, the Constitutional Court ruled that it didn’t have the authority to make a call on the matter.

About a week later, the court had to rule on whether or not the PM could be considered a state official while in the role of chief of the National Council for Peace and Order. Opposition parties argued that the PM was a state official while head of the NCPO, meaning he was not entitled to hold the position of PM after last year’s election. However, the court found that as the NCPO had seized power in a 2014 coup, the position of its chief was not under state command, therefore he could not be considered a state official.

The third challenge came last month, when the Constitutional Court again found in the PM’s favour, acquitting him of charges that he was illegally occupying a military residence. The opposition had accused the PM of a conflict of interest by living in the property after he had retired from the army. The court ruled that the PM was permitted to remain in the property under a 2005 army regulation, which permits retired army generals to stay living in military residences if they continue to serve the country well. The PM has lived at the army property since becoming army chief in 2010.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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