(Hong Kong, March 8, 2011) Two United Nations experts have sent "a letter of allegation" concerning the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the webmaster on trial in Bangkok for charges of lese-majesty and computer crime, one has revealed in a new report.
The mainstream Thai mass media faces a complex set of challenges ranging from legal barriers and political bias to other internal problems that prevent it from protecting the public interest and advancing freedom and democracy, Thailand's first Asian Media Barometer report has found.
Internet experts from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia expressed concern about the ongoing regional trend of targeting online intermediaries in attempts to control the flow of information in cyberspace.
The trial of webmaster Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who stands accused of 10 counts of violating the Computer Crime Act (CCA) 2007 as an intermediary who facilitated discussions later deemed as defamatory to Thailand’s royal family, ran for five days before the Criminal Court decided to postpone it to September 1 this year.
The trial of the Prachatai Director has been postponed to September and October after 5 days of hearings dealt with 5 witnesses out of 14 in total.
Thanthawut Thaweewarodomkul has told the court that he did not post the allegedly offensive messages and he was forced to confess by police, and insisted that he is not the administrator of www.norporchorusa.com.
On 9 Feb, an investigator from the Technological Crimes Suppression Division (TCSD) testified in court as a prosecution witness in the case of Thanthawut Thaweewarodomkul, the alleged NorPorChorUSA administrator.
The Thai authorities should drop all charges against human rights defender and web forum moderator Chiranuch Premchaiporn, whose trial continues this week, Amnesty International said today.
Chiranuch Premchaiporn's trial over computer crime charges began yesterday and attracted some 40 supporters and observers, all of whom are interested to see how this case against the freedom of expression pans out. The accused is the director of the non-profit online newspaper Prachatai.com.
The trial has begun in the Criminal Court of Thanthawut Thaweewarodomkul, allegedly the administrator of www.norporchorusa.com.
(Note: some changes have been made and more details added to the news report)
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