Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, secretary-general of the movement, said Article 112 of the Criminal Code covering lese majeste was problematic in all aspects, including the severity of punishment, and its interpretation and enforcement by authorities.
Writing on Facebook, he added that authorities were intensifying their enforcement of Article 112.
He urged members of Parliament, as representatives of the people, to use this opportunity to cancel the criminal offence of defamation, whether it covered royalty, foreign leaders, ambassadors, shrines, or ordinary people.
Defamation should be made a civil offence rather than a criminal offence, said Piyabutr. Downgrading the offence of defamation would be in line with international standards, which dictate that no one should be jailed for exercising their freedom of expression, he said.
“We cannot leave the ‘future of our nation’ to be charged with violating Article 112,” said Piyabutr, in a reference to ongoing youth-led protests for national reform.
“They are sacrificing their freedom and lives to fight for democracy. In comparison, MPs have sacrificed less than the youngsters but they owe their salaries and positions to the people who voted for them.”
Addressing MPs, he added: “You should be brave and fight for the future by pushing for necessary amendment of the law.”
The Future Forward Party he co-founded in 2018 had decided to leave the lese majeste law off its agenda, but this had left a scar on his conscience, said Piyabutr. However, the situation had now changed and it was time to support the popular push to revoke Article 112, he added.
Published : January 15, 2021
By : THE NATION