World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Thailand, 1 December 2014

Protest Campaign - Thailand, 1 December 2014

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His Excellency Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister of Thailand


1 December 2014


Your Excellency,


We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the jailing of journalist Nut Rungwong.


According to reports, on 24 November Mr Nut, editor of the news aggregating website Thai E-News, was sentenced to four and a half years in jail on charges of defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Mr Nut was convicted of insulting the King by publishing an article in 2009 written by a university professor and political writer, who also faces lѐse majesté charges but now lives in exile in the UK.


Mr Nut was arrested during a police raid on his house on 25 May 2014, three days after the military seized power from an elected government and five years after the offending article was published. He is the second journalist to be imprisoned on lѐse majesté charges in the past two years, following the January 2013 jailing of Somyot Preuksakasemsuk, editor of the now-defunct Voice of Taksin news-magazine, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for criticising the royal family.


Thailand's lѐse majesté law, Article 112 of the criminal code, provides sentences of three to 15 years in jail for insulting senior members of the royal family and is one of the harshest in the world.


We respectfully remind you that the jailing of Mr Nut constitutes a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.'


We respectfully call on you to ensure that Mr Nut and Mr Somyot are immediately released from prison and that all charges against them are dropped. We recall to your attention remarks made by your predecessor, Yingluck Shinawatra, at a meeting held during the World Newspaper Congress in Bangkok in June 2013, where she said Thailand tried to respect freedom of the press and did not want the law misused. We further remind you that she also invited WAN-IFRA to participate in future discussions as representatives of the global press on the Thai constitution.


While we are sensitive to Thailand’s cultural traditions, we respectfully call on your government to do its utmost to repeal the lèse-majesté laws and to fully respect your international obligations to freedom of expression.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum



WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2014-12-01 18:25

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...