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Freedom House downgrades Thailand to “not free”

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Freedom House downgrades Thailand to “not free” | Thaiger

US based Freedom House, a democracy advocacy group, has downgraded Thailand from being “partly free” to “not free” in its latest global rankings. The Freedom in the World 2021 report released this week assigned Thailand a total score of 30 out of 100, dropping from 32 out of 100 in the previous survey conducted in 2019.

Before, Thailand was deemed “not free” in the years of 2017 and 2018, but then was upgraded after elections were held after 5 years of military rule. But, the NGO has deemed the election process to be flawed.

The reasoning for the current downgrade is partly due to the court-ordered dissolution of the Future Forward Party in 2020 and the recent crackdown on pro-democracy groups, which have seen young students being charged with lese majeste, or defaming the monarchy, which is a crime in Thailand. As for the elections that were considered as flawed by Freedom House, the NGO issued a statement explaining their take on the supposedly democratic process.

“The results, announced 6 weeks after the polls, were tainted by irregularities, with ballots ‘lost’, and initial vote tallies changed. Additionally, the formula for distributing party seats was altered after the election in order to reduce seats won by opposition parties and redistribute them to military-aligned parties.”

The report also noted that “a combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy” had provoked the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations in a decade.

“In response to these youth-led protests, the regime resorted to familiar authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse-majesté charges, and harassment of activists.”

“Freedom of the press is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.”

Freedom House rates countries based on 10 political rights issues and 15 civil liberties issues. It gave Thailand 5 out of 40 for political rights and 25 out of 60 for civil liberties in 2020.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Slugger

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Freedom House is exactly what you’d expect. An American NGO which offers nothing apart from biased opinions.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Elections “flawed”
    Defrauded, corrupted, swindled, would be more suitable words.

  3. Avatar

    Dreqo

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    I’d not give a second thought to any nonsensical babble from a US based group, like these schmucks. Lecture another country on “freedom” after putting that sham “election” on display for the world? That’s as rich as it gets.

  4. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    THIS IS A NATION OF TIMID PEOPLE WHO NEED TO ‘COLLECTIVELY’, FIND THEIR VOICE AND SPEAK OUT…WITHOUT FEAR INSTILLED BY “UNCLE FESTER, BAGS UNDER HIS EYES, CHANOCHA!!!

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    So first Caitlin Ashworth reports this here, now Ann Carter. Who’s next?

  6. Avatar

    Jonty Miller

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 1:24 am

    100% on the mark.

  7. Avatar

    west tiger

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 1:26 am

    Not a good look for Thailand on the international front

  8. Avatar

    funny coz its true

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Americans judging how free everyone else is, got it.

    Check yourselves before you wreck yourselves

  9. Avatar

    TC

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 7:19 am

    They’ve just lost 2 more points banning protests “because of Covid”.
    Nothing to do with how the military junta is being exposed to the world.
    Failing economy coupled with citizens demanding the most basic freedom of them all – the ability to vote for a democratically elected Govt without interference. Just like what the people of Myanmar want.

  10. Avatar

    denis

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 7:40 am

    This NGO is a creation and is funded by US gov.
    So, their opinion or notation has no value

  11. Avatar

    Wijnschenk

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    If you cant talk a out the facts in public there is no freedom.
    Even as i write this i have to watch my words…..
    That ahouls say it all!!

  12. Avatar

    Robert Cole

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Freedom House is, in fact, a very reputable NGO founded by, amoung others, Elanor Roosevelt. It gives the US a ranking of 83, the same as Panama and Ghana. Does that sound a tool of government to you? Yes, the US has many many flaws, has invaded almost countless nations, thrown many stones from inside their own glass walls, but there are some very well-intentioned, morally-driven, and just plain GOOD organizations in the US, just as there are in most countries, and i’d venture to say this is one of them.

  13. Avatar

    Wijnschenk

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    Sorry written whitout my glasses.

  14. Avatar

    Ian

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 6:39 am

    If we can’t discuss half the issues the country faces, this is true the country can’t be free.

    You can’t deny it

  15. Avatar

    funny coz its true

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 6:42 am

    Robert Cole, google says its a U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization.

    Clear as fucking mud.

  16. Avatar

    Stardust

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 10:46 am

    @funny coz it is true that Thailand is no more a free country. And your what aboutism doesnt change that fact! Thailand is just another failed junta dictorship country and all of them failed in the history. Killing people, no free speech, inequality, more poor people, failed economies is what are the results of all these junta dictatirships are.

  17. Avatar

    sam

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Who cares about America that is in deep shit.from democracy,free speech,gun violence,police brutality,racism and full of fake news spreading like wild fire ?

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Bangkok

Independent candidates polling well in Bangkok governor race

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Independent candidates polling well in Bangkok governor race | Thaiger
PHOTO: Chadchard Sittipunt currently leads in Bangkok governor polls

Independent candidates are trending in polls for the Bangkok governor election later this year, with undecided voters leaning independent. Undecided voters have grown to nearly 1/3 of all voters up from just under 30% in March, possibly due to voters being tired of political polarisation. The exact date of the election has not been announced yet but independent candidates have jumped into the race before the major party candidates. Three have announced so far, former senator and rights activist Rossana Tositrakul, former national Police Chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda and former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt. Though many are still undecided, Chadchart seems to be the early favourite pulling 25% support in a recent poll while Chakthip earned just 12%, a lead that seems to be widening.

Bangkok voters traditionally did not vote independent, but rather along party lines, though they are known to decide last minute basing their choice on immediate factors. Surveys show that voters tend to make their decisions less than 5 days before elections normally. In the last election for governor in 2013, Sukhumbhand Paribatra performed badly in polls and yet won in the last minute vote after accusations that his opponent had plans to nominate red-shirt leaders.

Political analysts were not shocked with Chadchart’s dominance in the polls, but are also unconvinced that he can maintain his lead when the major party candidates enter the Bangkok governor election cycle. They believe that candidates from Kao Klai Party or the Progressive Movement, both splinters from the Future Forward Party, would offer formidable opposition. The Future Forward Party sprung to the spotlight in 2019, gaining 6 million votes in the country, 800,000 of which were from Bangkok, making it the third-largest party. There is a rumour that Parit “Itim” Wacharasindhu, the co-founder of the Progressive Constitution Group, might run under one of these two parties. His pro-democracy leanings may pull a lot of voters away from Chadchart.

The poll in March showed that 66% of Bangkok voters favoured independent candidates now and are leaning away from major party affiliations. The results are thought to indicate Bangkok residents’ frustration in extremely polarized political parties. Elections began 4 months ago in provinces, aside from Bangkok and Pattaya, considered special administrative zones.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

London’s anti-coup Burmese Ambassador locked from embassy

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London’s anti-coup Burmese Ambassador locked from embassy | Thaiger
Kyaw Zwar Minn, Burmese Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2013.

In London, the Myanmar Ambassador has been tossed from his own embassy, locked out because of his stance against the military junta in his country. The lockout occurred as a result of Kyaw Zwar Minn’s breaking ranks with the Burmese military leadership and calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader who was jailed when the military coup overran the country. Military leaders inside the London embassy are believed to be responsible for locking Ambassador Kyaw out of the embassy. The Burmese Ambassador had previously drawn praise by British foreign minister Dominic Raab for his courage in standing against the military coup, calling for the release of Suu Kyi and the elected President Win Myint and standing for pro-democracy causes. The United Kingdom have sanctioned the Burmese military and some of its business interests in response to the military coup and the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, calling for a return of democratic rule to the conflicted country.

Speaking outside the embassy where police were waiting and guarding watchfully, Kyaw spoke with protesters saying he’d been locked out of his own building and that he was waiting to go back inside. He says he has been in touch with Britain’s foreign ministry about the situation, but no action or formal statements have been made yet. He referred to it as a coup in the middle of London, referring to the fact that his building was now occupied by military leaders inside. It is believed that deputy ambassador Chit Win has taken control of the embassy with a military attaché and locked the building to their own diplomat.

The British foreign office has not commented yet on the incident, but the police did release a statement saying they’re aware of the protest going on regarding the Burmese Ambassador and that police are present and watching but have not made any arrests or taken any action at this time.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

Taiwan ready to duke it out if China attacks

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Taiwan ready to duke it out if China attacks | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Taiwan officials say they are ready to duke it out if China decides to take its military activities a step further. The announcement, made by its foreign minister, comes after China has stepped up its aircraft carrier drills near the island along with other military activities in the past few months.

“From my limited understanding of American decision makers watching developments in this region, they clearly see the danger of the possibility of China launching an attack against Taiwan. We are willing to defend ourselves without any questions and we will fight the war if we need to fight the war. And if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

Washington, Taiwan’s most important international ally has been pushing for Taiwan to modernise its military and spend more on defence in order to make it harder for China to successfully attack the island.

“The defence of Taiwan is our responsibility. We will try every way we can to improve our defence capability.”

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said they will run 8 days of computer-aided war games this month which would simulate a Chinese attack on Taiwan. The Han Kuang exercises are the island nation’s largest annual war games. The next phase of the games will include live firing drills, according to general Liu Yu-Ping.

“The drills are designed based on the toughest enemy threats, simulating all possible scenarios on an enemy invasion on Taiwan.”

Taiwan has not indicated if the Chinese carrier group is planning to go to the South China Sea, which is a disputed territory where a US carrier group is operating. But deputy defence minister Chang Che-ping says Taiwan is closely monitoring the carrier’s movements, saying that, for now, it seems the carrier is just doing routine drills.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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