Report from Bangkok: Press Freedom Threatened


BANGKOK, THAILAND — This month marks the one-year anniversary of protests in Thailand that brought Bangkok to a standstill in 2010. Some 88 people were killed and 1,800 injured in the violence. The country still remains in transition. When I was in Bangkok last month, Red Shirt protesters had blocked a busy section of the old city and taxi drivers were uneasy when I asked them to take me there. Meanwhile, the current government of Abhisit Vejjajiva is preparing for an election expected later this year.

One legacy of the instability has been the government’s crackdown on media and information. Chiranuch Premchaiporn is an editor with the news website Prachatai. She faces up to 20 years in prison for her role as a journalist and is accused of publishing comments considered offensive to the monarchy. Her case is being watched as a test of the state of media freedom in Thailand today.

I sat down with Premchaiporn in March and discussed her recent court appearances. I also asked why her news site continues to be blocked at times – despite the lifting of the government’s emergency rule last December. Keep an ear out for the full interview to air on FSRN stations in the US later this month.

The intersection of Sathon - Naradhiwas in Bangkok, Thailand, one year after the protests.
The intersection of Sathon - Naradhiwas in Bangkok, Thailand, one year after the protests.

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