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Backdown over “Prathet Ku Mee” anti-military rap

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The government and authorities have veered away from a potential showdown with student activists and erred on the side of good politics with a back down on threats to press charges against the team behind the “Rap Against Dictatorship.”

Read our weekend editorial about the matter HERE.

The track’s YouTube views reached over 21 million (at the time of this article), scored 793,000 ‘likes’ (and only 18,000 dislikes) and has been the #1 download on Thailand iTunes since last week.

The YouTube clip now appears to have been taken down and can’t be accessed anymore.

Last Friday the police and government spokespersons were threatening charges agains the writers, performers and producers of the anti-Junta rap song saying the piece contravened the Computer Crimes Act.

But the video was uploaded or linked directly by unknown thousands of social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and elsewhere, by users in Thailand and abroad. Authorities last week said that they would prosecute anyone who shared or re-published the song as well. In light of their threats, police were facing having to charge 20-30% of the Thai population.

But something magical has happened in the intervening three days where there’s not only been a backdown from Friday’s stern position on the matter, but now even vague support for “Prathet Ku Mee.”

Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, amongst other things, the deputy director of the technology crime centre, says, “…everyone is entitled to express opinions about anything.  Senior people must accept the fact that it is not possible to prohibit or restrict personal opinions’, especially among the youth. Adults should see them as views from another perspective that they they should listen to.”

The Thai deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul says, after investigation, there was no evidence at this stage to charge the rappers so listening, singing and sharing “Prathet Ku Mee” was legal for now. 

The Thai PM has also waded into the prickly situation during his visit to Phayao yesterday. He said people shouldn’t pay attention to ‘media buzz’.

“Use your judgment. Am I so dictatorial? Is it that oppressive? Don’t let yourself be a tool of others. I could just give orders somewhere else.”

The PM refused to mention the song or artists by name during his brief statement on the matter.

“If we appreciate it today, freedom without limits will turn against you, your family and your children in the future.”

 

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