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Thailand: 'No exceptions' on lese majeste for news outlets

access_time Dec 07,2016 chat_bubble_outline 54 views
Thailand: 'No exceptions' on lese majeste for news outlets

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's government will not back down from prosecuting news outlets that publish "illegal" content, the defense minister said Wednesday, after the BBC's bureau in Bangkok came under scrutiny for an article about the country's new king.

The British broadcaster's Thai-language service, a relative newcomer, caused a stir when it published an article on King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun's personal life as crown prince. It included details of three marriages that ended in divorce and other material that cannot be published in the Thai news media.

Thailand has strict lese majeste laws against insulting the monarchy, which carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison.

"Whatever is illegal will be processed accordingly, no exceptions," Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.

In the days after the article was published Dec. 2, the day after Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne, the British Broadcasting Corp.'s office in Thailand received multiple visits from the Thai army and police. BBC shut the office this week but continues to broadcast and publish on its website, although the link to the article about Vajiralongkorn is now blocked in Thailand.

"Officials were just doing their jobs when they searched this news agency," Prawit said.

The article sparked outrage among Thai royalists. Social media groups, such as the Facebook group "V for Thailand," have been vigorously criticizing the BBC, and posted the BBC's Bangkok phone number on their Facebook page, encouraging their followers to call and harass people who work there.

Thai police arrested a student on Saturday for sharing the BBC article, releasing him on bail the next day. It was the first arrest under lese majeste law since Vajiralongkorn became king.

It appeared to be the first lese majeste case involving material produced by a respected mainstream media outlet, although previous cases have involved content from several foreign tabloids. Mainstream media have had stories about the Thai monarchy censored, by blocking their websites and the voluntary stopping of distribution of editions of magazines and newspapers in Thailand, including The Economist and The International New York Times.

Critics of the lese majeste law, known as Article 112, say it is used to silence political dissidents. The military regime that took power in a 2014 coup has especially cracked down on commentary on the internet.

World - Yahoo News
Guantanamo prison author arrives back in Mauritania

Nouakchott (AFP) - A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who wrote a best-selling book about his experiences in the military prison was reunited with his family in his native Mauritania after 14 years of detention, sources said.The transfer of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, believed to be the last inmate from Mauritania held at the facility in Cuba, brings the prison's remaining population down to 60.His case became a cause celebre after the publication last year of "Guantanamo Diary", in which he outlines his… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Japan's CO2 emissions drop 3 pct to 5-year low in FY2015

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions fell 3 percent to a five-year low in the financial year through March due to lower power demand, growing renewable energy and the restart of nuclear power plants, government figures showed on Tuesday.Emissions fell for a second straight year to 1.321 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent, hitting the lowest since fiscal 2010, according to Ministry of Environment preliminary data.Japan's emissions rose after the March 2011 Fukushima disaster… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

80 percent of Vietnam's small businesses ‘invisible’ on the internet: report

Laborers work at TAL Apparel Vietnam Garments factory in Vinh Phuc province, north of Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham. A wave of digital technology has swept across Vietnam in recent years, but many Vietnamese companies have refused to sign up for the revolution. Tammy Phan, strategic partnership manager at Google, said that Vietnam currently has about 44-45 million internet users, and that figure is forecast to reach 82 million in 2020. These are good conditions for enterprises to apply… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Multi-million dollar tax arrears catch up to luxury car importers

A number of luxury car importers in Vietnam have been hit with tax arrears collection notices. At the end of December 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam (MBV) paid VND101.65 billion ($4.46 million) in tax arrears.However, the firm continued to submit letters of complaint about its initial tax assessment. The Post Clearance Audit Department of Vietnam Customs under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Ministry of Finance, previously in June 2016, issued a decision of post-clearance audit in… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Nigeria's leader wants spending spree to boost economy

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