After the Harvard Crimson has removed an article which talked about the pro-coup Thai elite trying to influence the Thai Studies programme at Harvard for the “personal safety of its author,” the paper on Thursday reposted the article on its website saying because the author has left Thailand. 

 
“This article was temporarily removed from thecrimson.com due to the author's concerns for his personal safety while in Thailand. We have reposted the article, without changes, now that the author has left that country,” said the editor’s note on Thursday. 
 
On Wednesday the article was removed from the website, and replaced with an editor’s note, saying that for the safety of the author, the Crimson had decided to remove the article. There is reportedly a dead threat from a social network user to Ilya Garger, the author of “Troubles with Thai Studies.”
  
The article raised concerns that by allowing the pro-coup Thai elite to influence the establishment of a permanent Thai Studies programme at Harvard, academic freedom may become compromised. 
 
“Having overthrown a series of elected governments and facing growing criticism from cold-war allies, the conservative establishment is working hard to rebuild its legitimacy abroad, and setting up a program at Harvard would be an important victory,” wrote Garger, a former reporter for Time magazine, and a member of the Harvard Club of Thailand’s executive committee.  
 
The article focused on two individuals in particular - former Foreign Ministers Surin Pitsuwan and Surakiart Sathirathai -- as members of the pro-coup conservative Thai establishment who have spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the programme and that Surin is working to secure funding from the Crown Property Bureau. 
 
 
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BANGKOK, 21 August 2014: Thailand earned a record THB942.20 million from on-location film shoots, January to July, according to a Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Thailand Film Office Department update released late last week. During the first seven months of the year, 344 documentaries, advertising slots, TV series, and music videos were filmed on location [...] Read more...
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The Nation in an editorial on January 2, 2014 with the headline “Democracy is not just about elections”. Key excerpt: In a representative democracy, elected MPs are supposed to represent the interest of their electorate, and also the public interest. In mature democracies, voters tend to base their choice on political and ethical values, rather than offers of Read more...
 
The Harvard Crimson on Wednesday removed an article which talked about the pro-coup Thai elite trying to influence the Thai Studies programme at Harvard for the “personal safety of its author.” 
 
Written by Ilya Garger, the article “Troubles with Thai Studies” raised concerns that by allowing the pro-coup Thai elite to influence the establishment of a permanent Thai Studies programme at Harvard, academic freedom may become compromised. 
 
“Having overthrown a series of elected governments and facing growing criticism from cold-war allies, the conservative establishment is working hard to rebuild its legitimacy abroad, and setting up a program at Harvard would be an important victory,” wrote Garger, a former reporter for Time magazine, and a member of the Harvard Club of Thailand’s executive committee.  
 
The article focused on two individuals in particular - former Foreign Ministers Surin Pitsuwan and Surakiart Sathirathai -- as members of the pro-coup conservative Thai establishment who have spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the programme. 
 
The article also mentioned that Surin is working to secure funding from the Crown Property Bureau. 
 
On Wednesday the article was removed from the website, and replaced with an editor’s note, saying that for the safety of the author, the Crimson had decided to remove the article. 
 
“The article that previously appeared at this URL has been temporarily removed due to concerns about the personal safety of its author. The Crimson regrets having to take this action, which is in most cases in violation of our policies, but found the reasons for doing so overwhelming in this case. We expect to be able repost the article's original text, at this URL, in the near future,” said the editor’s note. 
 
 
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Human Rights Watch
AUGUST 20, 2014
 
Thailand: Theater Activists Jailed for Insulting Monarchy
Lese Majeste Arrests Increase Since Military Coup
 
(New York) – The arrest of two activists involved in a play considered by Thai military authorities to be “insulting to the monarchy” shows the decline in freedom of expression in Thailand since the May 22, 2014 coup, Human Rights Watch said today. At least 14 new lese majeste cases are pending in the Bangkok Military Court and in criminal courts around Thailand, according to the Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (ILaw).
 
Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 25, were arrested on August 14 and 15 respectively for their participation in “The Wolf Bride,” a play presented in October 2013 as part of the 40th commemoration at Thammasat University of the October 1973 pro-democracy protest.
 
“Thailand’s military junta first put a chokehold on TV, radio, newspapers and the internet, and now they’re going after the theater arts,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Since the military coup, the authorities have clamped down on any speech they find objectionable, including what they deem is critical of the monarchy.”
 
Patiwat, a student of Khon Kaen University’s Fine and Applied Arts Faculty who was an actor in “The Wolf Bride,” was transferred after his arrest from Khon Kaen province to Bangkok’s Chanasongkhram police station. Police said that a warrant for his arrest had been issued in June. Pornthip, an activist who directed “The Wolf Bride,” was arrested as she was about to leave Thailand to study overseas. She was also sent to the Chanasongkhram police station.
 
The Bangkok Criminal Court denied both Patiwat’s and Pornthip’s bail requests. Patiwat is currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison while Pornthip is at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.
 
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand has ratified, encourages bail for criminal suspects. Article 9 states that, “It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial.” Those denied bail need to be tried as expeditiously as possible, Human Rights Watch said. The ICCPR in article 19 upholds the right to freedom of expression.
 
“For many years Thai courts have regularly refused bail to people awaiting trial for ‘insulting the monarchy,’” Adams said. “The systematic denial of bail for lese majeste suspects seems intended to punish them before they even go to trial.”
 
The offense of lese majeste is found under article 112 of Thailand’s penal code. The Thai authorities have frequently used article 112 to intimidate, arrest, and prosecute people who are accused of criticizing or speaking ill about the king and members of the royal family.
 
The military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has pledged to restore human rights protections in Thailand, but has also repeatedly vowed to prosecute critics of the monarchy, which clearly undermines the right to free speech. The arrests of Patiwat and Pornthip 10 months after the performance of “The Wolf Bride” suggest that the military authorities are sending a current political message rather than addressing a past harm, Human Rights Watch said.
 
Neither King Bhumibol Adulyadej nor any member of the royal family has ever personally filed lese majeste charges, Human Rights Watch said. During his birthday speech in 2005, the King stated that he was not above criticism. “Actually, I must also be criticized. I am not afraid if the criticism concerns what I do wrong, because then I know. Because if you say the King cannot be criticized, it means that the King is not human,” he said. “If the King can do no wrong, it is akin to looking down upon him because the King is not being treated as a human being. But the King can do wrong.”
 
However, the police, public prosecutors, courts, and other state authorities appear to be afraid to reject any allegations of lese majeste out of concern they might be accused of disloyalty to the monarchy. Human Rights Watch has long urged the Thai authorities to amend article 112 so that private parties cannot bring complaints of lese majeste since no private harm is incurred. Private persons and groups have often misused lese majeste laws for political purposes.
 
“The heavy-handed enforcement of lese majeste laws has a devastating impact on freedom of expression in Thailand,” Adams said. “A broad-based discussion is urgently needed to amend the laws to ensure that they conform with Thailand’s international human rights obligations.”
 
 
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BANGKOK (AP) — When Thailand's military ruler appears in public, he usually is seen in full military regalia. On Monday, addressing the nation's junta-appointed legislature to propose the upcoming fiscal year's budget, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha showed up in markedly different attire — a business-like dark blue suit with a sky blue tie. Read more...
BANGKOK, 19 August 2014: Thailand’s economy grew 0.9% in the second quarter, dodging recession after the military ended months of political deadlock with a coup and promised to unshackle spending. The junta, under coup-leading Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha, has pegged its legitimacy to improving the economy after months of political protests froze government spending, scared [...] Read more...
BANGKOK, 19 August 2014: If having more that anyone else is a blessing then Thailand tops the heap of beach destinations with its estimated 1,250 beachfront hotels. Not good news for the escapist or beach lovers, who like nothing more than sand, sea and a hammock, but good news for Thailand’s tourism industry that parks [...] Read more...