Thailand’s Government overcompensating for Red Shirts

It has been growing ever since the day after the Red Shirt occupation in Bangkok was disbursed. The desire to come down hard on the Red Shirts and enforce the law is now dragging way too many innocent well meaning people into the gravity well of this political black hole.

From the perspective of a fly on the wall, the Thai government is well justified in taking action against the Red Shirt’s leadership and their financial backers. Swap out Thailand for just about any other country and you would see a similar response. Some more aggressive countries would have already put to death the people involved or at the very least locked them away for life. However with Thailand the use of some laws and control of the media and Internet to keep the Red Shirts from festering up again as they have promised could quickly turn the public’s opinion against the government no matter what color shirt the public wears. Getting away with censorship in a dictatorship is much easier than in a democracy.

The broad use of the Lèse majesté laws is a double edge sword to say the least. At best it is a hammer being used to remove a dirty oil filter, in short it is not the right tool for the job. The same is true with censorship as it too is not the right tool for the job. Continued use as it has been over the last several months will result in alienating the government as they slowly become what they are fighting.

With the thought of the right tool for the job being the best answer, it is clear that is the direction things must go. That is particularly true if the Lèse majesté laws become less fashionable in the future. So by putting a common sense law in place that puts an end to censorship and over use of the Lèse majesté law, it seems a special quick turnaround court may be what the doctor ordered.

Prime Minister Abhisit and his government have a valid concern about deliberate lies and distortions being used to anger the people who do not have the educational resources to see past the lies. So it would seem to make sense that a court that could decide defamation cases and render a ruling inside a month or two would be a proper fix that does not tread on free speech or other concerns the international community has. It would also stop the gross misuse of the Lèse majesté law.

The court would be charged with the simple task of deciding if what was said is true or false. If it is true no matter how damaging it may be to whoever, an innocent ruling will be issued. If a guilty ruling is given the court could use any number of remedies from repeated publishing of a retraction, to jail time for repeat offenders.

It seems to make all the sense in the world. Even Prime Minister Abhisit acknowledged that the long waiting time before a final court ruling is given is a big problem. In the USA they have a special court division for traffic violations and the turn around is weeks and not years.

This may be a simple no brainer fix that will put an end to censorship and curtail the misuse of the Lèse majesté laws in Thailand while robbing troublemakers of one of their biggest trouble making tools.

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