The Criminal Court has refused to repeal an order blocking an online petition for the repeal of the royal defamation law, claiming that the website contains a phrase that is a distortion of fact.
A banner at the 31 October 2021 protest at the Ratchaprasong Intersection inviting people to sign the petition calling for the repeal of the royal defamation law.
The petition, launched on 5 November 2021 at no112.org, calls for the repeal of the royal defamation law, or Section 112. Within 24 hours, it received over 100,000 signatures, ten times the number legally required for a bill to be put before parliament by the public.
In February 2022, it was reported that the website became inaccessible, and that many who tried to access the website to sign the petition were directed to a page saying that the website had been blocked by court order.
In August 2022, the activist network Citizens for the Abolition of 112 filed a complaint with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES). They later learned that the MDES filed a request with the court to have the site blocked, and the court did not summon the site’s administrators for a hearing. Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa then appointed a lawyer to file an opposition to the court order. An inquiry then took place on 27 February 2023.
iLaw reported on Wednesday (1 March) that the Criminal Court ruled that although the public is allowed to propose amendments to laws, the logic behind the amendment has to be truthful and fair. It ruled that the phrase “the monarchy is a political institution” used on the website is a distortion of the truth and the law, because the monarchy is one of the country’s core institutions and is not involved in politics.
The court therefore ruled that the phrase violates public peace and order, and that it will not repeal the order blocking the website. This means that the site will remains inaccessible for the time being, but the lawyer responsible for filing the opposition to the court order said they will file an appeal.