UN Expert Condemns Prime Minister’s Threats to Freedom of Press

 | Thu 2 Apr 2015 08:26 ICT

CityNews – United Nation Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye has condemned Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s statements against freedom of press in which he threatened the lives of journalists in Thailand.


According to UN reports, Chan-o-cha recently stated that he enjoys “the power to close down the media, arrest people, order for people to be shot” and warned that journalists who “cause divisions” could be executed.

Kaye has urged the Thai government to distance itself from the prime minister’s “intimidating” comments.

“After a year of killings and terrible violence against journalists worldwide, such statements are simply outrageous,” Kaye has declared in a UN news release.

“Journalists of all kinds perform one of the most fundamental tasks in a democratic society, throwing light on whether and how Governments behave in accordance with the rule of law or engage in corruption and human rights abuses. Intimidation of journalists is by definition an attack on the public’s right to know.”

“Not only Governments and public officials should exhibit respect for the role of journalists, but actually should publicly condemn all forms of threats and attacks against journalists at the highest political level and ensure no one is subject to intimidations,”

“There is no sense that General Prayuth spoke in jest. But even if he did, the idea that the killing of journalists – let alone the shutting down of media in light of criticism – can be a laughing matter is reprehensible.”

Kaye goes on to call for Thailand to lift martial law but warns against the possible invocation of Section 44, which could grant the prime minister unchecked legislative powers.

“This is particularly crucial now at the moment of drafting the new Constitution, which will shape the future of the country.”