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Protests

Criminal Court reverses decision to close down some Thai media

Caitlin Ashworth

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Criminal Court reverses decision to close down some Thai media | The Thaiger

Today was a win for Thai media companies after some authorities tried to silence them amid pro-democracy protests. The court initially ruled to suspend Voice TV for allegedly violating State of Emergency orders, but today the court reversed the ruling, saying Thailand’s Constitution does not give the court power to shutdown the media platforms.

Along with reversing the ruling on Voice TV, the court also dismissed a request to suspend 3 other Thai news outlets covering the protests and to block the activist-run Free Youth Facebook page, according to The Standard.

The National Police Chief had recently requested authorities suspend the news outlets – The Standard, Prachatai, Voice TV and The Reporters – for allegedly violating government orders by spreading content that was a “threat to national security.”

The Standard posted on its Facebook page today saying the news channels have the freedom of press under Section 36 of Thailand’s Constitution.

Section 36: A person shall enjoy the liberty of communication by lawful means. Censorship, detention or disclosure of communication between persons including any other act which discloses the content of a communication between persons shall not be made except by virtue of law specifically enacted for security of the State or maintaining public order or good morals.

Voice TV also posted on Facebook announcing they will continue to operate as normal.

“The court lifted the petition because it saw that the constitution protects the freedom of public communication and press.”

Digital Economy and Society Ministry spokesperson said in a previous report that Voice TV had violated the Computer Crime Act by spreading “false information.” Voice TV says they are doing a professional duty and do not report distorted or misleading information.

BREAKING: ศาลอาญายกคำร้องดีอีเอสสั่งปิดแพลตฟอร์มออนไลน์ Voice TV ยืนยันในเสรีภาพสื่อและเสรีภาพประชาชน…

Posted by THE STANDARD on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

ด่วน!!! ศาลสั่งยกคำร้องปิด ‘วอยซ์ ทีวี’ เหตุสื่อมีเสรีภาพตามรัฐธรรมนูญ อีกทั้ง พ.ร.บ.คอมฯ…

Posted by Voice TV on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

SOURCES: The Standard| Voice TV

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Economy

“Protests could affect the economy” – Bank of Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Protests could affect the economy” – Bank of Thailand | The Thaiger

The ongoing political protests could have a negative impact on Thailand’s already crippled economy by weakening domestic consumption and tourism even more, according to the Bank of Thailand. The bank’s newly appointed governor Settaput Suthiwart-Narueput, who started this month, says they need to keep a close watch on the situation.

“Basically, the political factor is one of the uncertainties… It could affect the economy, particularly consumer confidence and tourism. The central bank has been monitoring the situation closely especially how all the parties concerned handle the protests.”

The halt of foreign tourist arrivals over the past 7 months have heavily impacted the economy. Thailand lost 1.6 trillion baht, or 10% of the GDP. Around 40 million foreign tourists visited Thailand last year while this year is only expected to have a total of 6.7 million. The bank’s governor says it’s going to take some time for the economy to recover.

“It will take at least 2 years for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels… From now on, the economy is likely to see a continuous contraction on a quarterly basis. It is expected to begin to show a positive growth rate in the second rate in the second quarter of 2021 and be back to normal growth in the third quarter of 2022.”

President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Tirrattanajarasporn also says the continuing pro-democracy protests could negatively impact the tourism industry and is urging government officials to engage in dialogue with the protesters. He also says that people tend to save their money during protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

Those interested in travelling to Thailand on the Special Tourist Visa are not concerned with the political climate and ongoing protests, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

While monitoring the protests and the potential effect they have on the economy, the governor says the Bank of Thailand will also tackle the debt crisis. Debt relief measures, put in place by the bank to aid businesses battered by the pandemic, are lifting this month. The bank is now working on debt solutions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Former Pheu Thai chair to challenge legality of emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Former Pheu Thai chair to challenge legality of emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thai politician and former chair of the Pheu Thai Party, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, has confirmed she plans to challenge the legality of the emergency decree in court. She joins a number of opposition MPs and other activists who are petitioning to have the decree lifted. Bangkok awoke to a state of emergency declared by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha in the early hours of last Thursday, amid growing political unrest.

Posting on her Facebook page, Sudarat points to the PM himself, who she describes as, “the source of the problem”. She says the current political protests are a result of him using a military coup to take control from the people, and then drafting a charter that supported the transfer of power to Thailand’s military.

“Other politicians and I have followed the situation with concern and tried to prevent the government from applying their power. We had a discussion yesterday and agreed that we should use the right in the court to protect the protesters.”

Two MPs from the Pheu Thai Party have also expressed their intention to sue the PM for having invoked the emergency decree. Cholnan Srikaew and Jirayu Houngsub are calling on the Civil Court to rescind the state of emergency and guarantee the protection of anti-government activists.

Nation Thailand reports that former judge, Kasem Suphasit, and former Democrat MP, Watchara Petchthong, have also confirmed they are taking legal action against the PM, claiming the implementation of the emergency decree is unlawful.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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