Thailand Drops In 2017 World Press Freedom Index - Again
Thailand has fallen further down the world index of press freedom as the Thai military junta continues to keep journalists under surveillance and enforce Article 112 of the Criminal Code as effective weapon of mass deterrence of freedom, according to the World Press Freedom Index.
The annual index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, known internationally as RSF, placed Thailand 142nd out of 180 countries, a drop of six places from 136th place last year.
Norway came top on the ranking, replacing Finland which had been on the top for six consecutive years. North Korea was at the bottom with the least press freedom.
In announcing its 2017 World Press Freedom Index, RSF said press freedom in Thailand is still gagged by “Peace and Order”. It claimed Thailand is still ruled by a military junta called the National Council for Peace and Order.
Ubiquitous, all-powerful, and led by press freedom predator Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Council keeps journalists and citizen-journalists under permanent surveillance, often summons them for questioning, and detains them arbitrarily.
It claimed any criticism of the junta is liable to lead to violent reprisals made possible by draconian legislation and a justice system that follows orders.
The already feared Computer-Related Crime Act was reinforced in 2016, giving the authorities even more surveillance and censorship powers.
It said the military council still use lèse-majesté charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code as a weapon of mass deterrence for journalists, bloggers, and online activists.