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Statement of The Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR)

On 30 May 2007, the Constitution Tribunal, appointed by the military council after the coup to overthrow the Thaksin's administration on 19 September 2006, decided to dissolve the Thai Rak Thai party and withdraw the voting rights of its 111 executive committee members for 5 years including former Prime Minister Thanksin Shinawatra. This decision shows the recession of democracy development and the parliamentary system since the fate of political parties, politicians, political party members and Thai citizen is defined, decided and controlled by a mechanism from the coup overthrowing the constitution.


The CPMR agrees that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his cabinet of the former government had made serious mistakes in their administration by putting their private interests above the public interest, but it is crucial for the public and other mechanisms to check the government to the end using a democratic process. However, the CPMR does not agree with any actions of the coup council and their mechanisms which deprive the people of their political rights by undemocratic means.


Therefore, the party dissolution and the withdrawing of politicians' political rights by a body emerging from a process which overthrew the constitution do not create legitimacy and seek accordance with the majorities. Differences in opinions and political conflict will be increased severely. Thus, the demand from the Council for National Security, the government, the military, the police, mass media and some scholars that every group should remain calm and end their political movements is unrealistic and contrary to the people's rights and liberty.


It is because the political right to express different opinions, to resist and oppose through peaceful demonstration, or by any mass media, is the fundamental human right of all people, the same as the people's movement similar to the former demonstration of the People's Alliance for Democracy.


As the expression of the Thai Rak Thai's supporters through the political party and struggle in the parliamentary system was terminated, it is not unusual that movements outside the parliament, on the streets, in online media, or other media, have became stronger in order to make up for these lost political rights.


Such prohibition of expression towards the citizens indicates fear by the state authorities since they are aware that their existing power lacks legitimacy. Finally, the effort to obstruct different opinions by using power would never lead to unanimity in Thai society. Even worse, tension is increased making society fearful and engendering hatred.


Whether we agree with the Thai Rak Thai party or not, political parties and politicians are still the representatives of the people in a democracy. 14.4 million members of the Thai Rak Thai also have their human dignity and civil rights. Thai society must be open by respecting others' rights and liberty as well as protecting their own.


In the opinion of the CPMR, although we are against the Thaksin administration, we have to respect different opinions and accept the expression of the Thaksin administration's supporters to the last, based on the belief that the people's rights and liberty are the foundation of a democratic society arising from the equality of its citizens.


The CPMR requests the mass media, that accused and slandered Thai Rak Thai's supporters or the groups opposing the coup of having bad intentions towards the country, the religion and the monarchy, to reconsider very carefully their expressed opinions in order to prevent them from triggering violence and hatred amongst the people by doing their proper duty as in the incident of 6 October 1976.


Finally, the CPMR demands the state should cease obstructing political movements, peaceful demonstrations, and the media, such as websites, community radio, television stations, or other expressions of people with different political views. Instead, the state must immediately return sovereignty and the right for an election to the people.




Campaign for Popular Media Reform

1 June 2007

[email protected]

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