AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (Thailand) and the Thai Netizens group yesterday called on the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to revise the amended Computer Crime Act, as it potentially limits people’s right to freedom of expression.
Pornpen Kongkajornkiat, vice chairwoman of Amnesty International (Thailand), submitted an official letter to NLA vice president Surachai Liangboonlertchai. In the letter, she expressed concerns that some articles in the bill could limit people’s rights as well as violate their privacy, which are protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
She said the bill’s Article 14 was ambiguous and open to broad interpretation. Part of the article stipulates that those posting information that can “potentially frighten the public” could face defamation charges.
The amended Computer Crime Act recently passed the Cabinet and will return to the NLA for further deliberation.
Arthit Suriyawongkul, a representative of the Thai Netizens group, said Article 15 stipulating that Internet service providers would face the same penalties as those violating Article 14 if they fail to stop the spread of such information would push providers to start self-censorship. Consequently, people’s rights and freedom of expression would not be respected, he said.
Plus, Article 20 of the same bill allows the authorities to remove any information stored on computers that may be deemed perilous to public peace, even if this data does not infringe any laws.
Arthit also asked the NLA to revisit the bill and remove any clauses allowing the prosecution of people who only peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression and privacy. He was apparently referring to the recent case of the mother of a high-profile activist getting charged.