Cabinet Gives Green Light To Increase Penalties for Distributing Publications Defaming the Institution

After the cabinet meeting on 18 Oct, Minister of Culture Sukumol Kunplome told reporters that the cabinet had approved amendments to the 2007 Print Registration Act as proposed by the Ministry.

The amendments include 7 points:
1.    Any print media, excluding newspapers, printed in the kingdom must identify itself by category according to criteria set by ministerial regulation;
2.    The National Police Chief is authorized to ban the printing, distribution or import of any printed media which affects the monarchy, national security or public order and morals;
3.    Publishers must publish within 60 days after receiving permission;
4.    Publishers must identify in the printed materials the category and ISBN of each publication as issued by the National Library of Thailand, and must submit two copies to the National Library of Thailand;
5.    The name of the publication must not be the same as or similar to any of the name or abbreviation of any state agency;
6.    Publishers who do not submit copies of their publication to the National Library of Thailand within a specified timeframe will be fined up to 10,000 baht; and
7.    Those who violate a banning order by the National Police Chief will be punished with a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to 100,000 baht, or both.

A rating system for printed media will also be introduced in the law because currently newspapers, magazines and journals are found to have violent and pornographic content and pictures which are not appropriate for young readers who might imitate them, she said.

The Ministry of Culture will work out the details of the rating system appropriate to Thai society.  The amendments will be vetted by the Council of State before being forwarded to Parliament, the Minister said.

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