- 14 May 2019 at 04:00
- WRITER: POSTBAG
Re: "Majority disagree with EC endorsement of party MPs: Suan Dusit poll", (BP, May 12). A popular Latin maxim goes, "Vox populi, vox Dei," or "The voice of the people is the voice of God" and this is why countries hold elections.
Yet "On the (Thai) EC's endorsement of party-list MPs... 75.40% of the (Suan Dusit poll) respondents said they disagreed with it, reasoning that ... the method used by the EC to calculate the party-list MPs was unfair to many parties and gave no importance to the voice of the majority."
It appears that if the highly respected Suan Dusit is anywhere near correct, in Thailand "Vox junta, vox Dei." I am not optimistic, alas.
A Thai nightmare
In "Facebook opens way to nightmare", the Bangkok Post's editorial makes points so important that they cannot too often be bluntly stated. Whilst private publishers are rightly not bound by such legal restraints as the First Amendment to that bulwark of a relatively healthy democracy, the well-proven US Constitution, those who pretend to be a place for public discussion in the manner of a street corner should not be banning anything save outright incitement to violence against others.
This is why, whilst Fox News is free to pollute the airwaves with its amazing partisan support for all things Trump along with loony religious zealotry, or The New York Times is free to take the opposite approach in deciding what to publish or not, Facebook should not be making such censorious decisions, however popular they might be.
It is true that the blocked purveyors of filth, unreason and hate will find other outlets, but it would be better to allow them a voice in the more frequented public squares so that their ideas can be heard and rebutted, or not, by a wider public. It is healthy to be exposed to ideas you find repugnant.
What the Post less happily glossed over in this editorial is Thailand's grave failure to respect the basic right to free speech of Thai citizens. Although the current and previous permanent constitutions of the Thai nation, all enacted with much pageantry, explicitly state that: "A person shall enjoy the liberty to express opinions, make speeches, write, print, publicise and express by other means" (Section 34), this pious sounding respect for basic rights is promptly rendered null and void by the following clauses. The result is seen not only in the frequent red warnings underlining many articles in the Post, which belie the claim that Thai law respects the right to free speech of Thai citizens.
More seriously in breach of respecting the basic civil liberties of Thai citizens is the fact that Thai criminal and other law infamously suppresses the free speech of Thai citizens, deeming criminal and making fugitives of patriotic citizens whose only "crime" is to seek or to speak an informed understanding of Thai affairs, which the rule of law strictly prohibits along with critical thinking. This failure of basic critical thinking is blatant in section 34 of the current constitution.
So deep is the darkness dictated by this rejection of the right to free speech that it is not even known what the Thai nation thinks of such censorship, although the stunning approval of Future Forward by the good citizens of Thailand in the poll of public opinion on March 24 is suggestive.
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