Unfortunately, 2017 doesn’t look as though it is going to be very happy for any of those who want expanded political space in Thailand. We can be sure that there will be continuing political repression by the military dictatorship. We can also be sure that online surveillance will deepen. Lese majeste cases may decline, but this is simply a measure of the intensification of the use of the draconian law by the junta and the fear this has spread.
The new regime in the palace seems to have changed little. The alliance of palace and military is especially strong and the new king is well-behaved for the moment. He seems likely to continue with the palace propaganda that relies heavily on “inheriting” the “legacy” of his father. How long this lasts for a king who was an unpredictable and erratic prince remains to be seen, but we may be sure the junta has been working hard to close leaks and prevent discussion of errant behavior when it occurs.
In the meantime, we thought that readers might like to peruse a couple of academic papers that reflect on repression and political contestation in Thailand, available for free download from the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies:
- Mass Surveillance and the Militarization of Cyberspace in Post-Coup Thailand – Pinkaew Laungaramsri
- New Social Media and Politics in Thailand: The Emergence of Fascist Vigilante Groups on Facebook – Wolfram Schaffar