A few days ago, PPT posted on a letter endorsed by the ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and the US as well as the head of the European Union delegation. That letter urged the junta “to allow the Thai people to engage in open dialogue, forge common links, and find the consensus needed to build a strong and sustainable future for all.”
The junta has responded with lies and continuing repression.
Prawit lied that the junta “never suppressed free speech.” He was supported in his lie by junta spokesman Colonel Piyapong Klinpan who said “the regime did not do anything that would violate freedom of expression, noting critics could still proceed with their activities if they were not deemed against the law.”
He knows, as does everyone else, that the junta deems all activities it doesn’t like against the “law.”
Piyapong also declared that the junta “was not concerned about the latest stance by foreign envoys.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee repeated the nonsensical Orwellian claims that “the draft charter and the referendum process were part of the “roadmap to democracy” and the government took legal measures necessary to ensure peace and order and a smooth transition.” He became bizarre, declaring that these “legal measures would never restrict freedom of expression as long as it was not disruptive to peace and order, adding the government was also open to opinions from all stakeholders in the reconciliation and reform process.”
The threats were also multiple. General Prawit “denied the military was behind the distribution of several thousand letters containing allegedly distorted information on the draft charter,” adding: “Some groups want to see the referendum collapse. I know who they are and actions will be taken.”
Other threats are more immediate. We have posted on two of the most recent threats to the media and actual threats to expression. The threats to red shirts are ongoing and unrelenting, with Prachatai reporting that 19 northeastern red shirts have been summoned for joining shortlived/abortive UDD plan for a referendum watch campaign. According to lawyers, a total of “[a]t least 96 red-shirt supporters in seven provinces across the country have so far been prosecuted under NCPO Order No 3/2015 for joining the red-shirt referendum watch campaign.”
But the junta never restricts freedom of expression. Malarky, nonsense and horse manure rolled up hill are all terms that come to mind.