11 July 2024

Move Forward Secretary-General Chaithawat Tulathon defended the party’s advocacy for amendment of the lèse majesté law (Section 112 of the Criminal Code) today (Thursday) and explained why the party cannot back down on this matter.

Speaking in parliament, Chaithawat said that law has been widely abused, to the extent that, since 2000, 252 people have been charged with lèse majesté merely for expressing their opinion about the monarchy.

As a party which has a conscience, he said that Move Forward cannot pretend not to see the problems in this law, as he warned that, if the law is not amended now, it will become ticking a time bomb which will explode in the future.

He explained that the party’s bill to amend Section 112 is in compliance with the international principle of freedom of expression in proportion with the protection of the rights of individuals against defamation.

He also said that punishment by imprisonment for the offence of defamation conflicts with the international principle of freedom of expression.

The highlight of the Future Forward party’s bill to amend the lèse majesté law is a reduction in the prison sentence, from a maximum of 15 years to one year, and/or a fine of 300,000 baht for defaming the King and six months and/or a fine of 200,000 baht for defaming the Queen, the Heir or the Regent.

If the alleged defamation, however, is proven to have been in good faith, the accused will be exempt from punishment. This also applies to ordinary defamation cases.

Chaithawat explained that the Move Forward party’s bill is nothing new, claiming that similar law was in force in Thailand in 1935, before it was amended in 1956.

He said that, even if the lèse majesté law is amended, the status of the King, as specified in Section 6 of the Constitution, remains intact.

Section 6 of the Constitution states: The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.