The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has urged members of the public to stop following on social media three persons who regularly posted messages deemed to violate the lese majeste law.
In an announcement issued on Wednesday evening, the ministry warned the public against directly and indirectly following, having contact with or spreading the messages of academic Somsak Jeamteerasakul, scholar Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Scottish journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall through social media.
The agency said such acts could be in violation of the Computer Crime Act, pointing to recent orders by the Criminal Court for distribution of “inappropriate” information through the computer and Internet systems.
The announcement was signed by the ministry’s caretaker permanent secretary, Somsak Khaosuwan.
All the three men are wanted in Thailand for violating Article 112 of the Penal Code on lese majeste. They now live overseas.
Responding to the announcement that singled him out, Somsak expressed “surprise” at the move.
Pavin said the ministry announcement would only “give more value to me as a refugee”, adding he expected to get more lecturing jobs after this move.
Marshall said Thai authorities were threatening to use the Computer Crime Act to prosecute those who followed him and two Thai academics on social media. He called the order “ridiculous and oppressive” while requesting “everybody who may be at risk to unfollow me immediately”.
At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to get tough with certain people living overseas who are wanted for lese majeste and who regularly posted messages on social media deemed insulting to the monarchy.