Deleting news and suppressing freedom of expression

PPT has chased this story – deleted from Prachatai – for a few days. Finally, with our thanks and appreciation, a reader came up with it. This is the deleted story:

Court orders NGO to delete report criticising its judgement
Submitted by editor4 on Thu, 15/12/2016 – 18:15

A court has threatened to prosecute a lawyer for contempt of court after Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) published a report criticising the court’s decision to deny bail to an anti-junta activist.

On 14 December 2016, Phra Khanong Provincial Court ordered the TLHR to delete an online report about the court denying bail for Piyarat Chongthep, a pro-democracy activist prosecuted for tearing a referendum ballot on 7 August. The court threatened to prosecute Piyarat’s lawyer for contempt of court if the TLHR did not delete the report.

The TLHR then conceded to the court’s order before the court granted bail for Piyarat and his two friends on the same day with 200,00 baht as surety for each suspect.

The deleted report contains details of the trial and comments from TLHR staff criticising the court’s judgement to deny bail to the three suspects on 13 December. On that day, two university lecturers had used their academic positions to submit bail requests for the three. However, the court denied bail, reasoning that the lecturers are neither relatives of the three or their employers.

The TLHR report argues that official regulations do not state that bail guarantors have to be a relative or employer of suspects.

While bail was eventually granted, the situation is that reports of reports of bail being denied are now deleted. Courts, monarchy, military and regime are all on a list of bodies that cannot be criticized.

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