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Appeal for Freedom of Media in Thailand

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    UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME Update on Urgent Appeal 9
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2006
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      UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT
      APPEAL

      ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

      Update on Urgent Appeal

      9 October 2006

      [RE: UG-018-2006: THAILAND: UN rights bodies must act urgently to
      address junta; UP-189-2006: THAILAND: Illegal detention of former
      government ministers; UP-190-2006: THAILAND: Websites and radio
      stations shut down by military junta]
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      UP-194-2006: THAILAND: Join protest for media freedom and 1997
      Constitution

      THAILAND: Military rule; martial law; threats to human rights
      defenders; restrictions on freedom of assembly & _expression
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------

      Dear friends,

      As the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) informed you in our last
      update on Thailand, the new military junta there has shut down
      websites and radio stations and is closely monitoring the media (UP-
      190-2006). A local media rights group has called for a protest this
      Wednesday, October 11, against these actions, to commemorate the
      ninth anniversary of the 1997 Constitution. Please join the protest
      if you are in Bangkok, or make protest actions outside the Thai
      diplomatic mission in your own country.

      The AHRC is repeating below the call to join a protest organised by
      the Bangkok-based Campaign for Popular Media Reform, on this October
      11 at the Democracy Monument.

      For persons outside Bangkok or Thailand, please consider organising
      your own protest actions to coincide with this event, or later if you
      cannot do it on the same day. For instance, you could hold a
      gathering or submit a letter to the local Thai government mission in
      your country or town. For a sample letter on the issue, see the
      previous appeal: UP-190-2006. See also the open letter on the same
      issue by the international monitoring group Reporters Without
      Borders.


      STATEMENT OF THE CAMPAIGN FOR POPULAR MEDIA REFORM

      Stop blocking the freedom of thought and _expression: Please join in
      mourning over the 1997 Constitution and holding lights for the return
      of civil liberties

      The coup d'etat on September 19, 2006 resulted in the abolition of
      the 1997 Constitution, nine years since its declaration on October
      11, 1997. It is deeply sorrowful for Thai society that the
      regulations and intentions regarding rights and freedom in the
      constitution were invalidated.

      Moreover, we can see that the powers-that-be have run the measures
      affecting the rights and freedom of people, such as the order closing
      community radio stations on the one hand and commanding community
      radio stations to broadcast military information regularly on the
      other; shutting websites which have political criticism, like
      www.19sep.org and www.midnightuniv.org; using legal action against
      critics who have political _expression, like the criminal charge
      against Associate Professor Giles Ungphakorn, and other measures
      limiting civil rights and freedom of _expression.

      The Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR) considers that the above
      actions obstruct the opinion _expression and violate civil and
      political rights. Meanwhile, it emphasizes the climate of fear and
      frustration in Thai society. So, the public needs to participate in
      upholding the principle of free _expression by opening public spaces
      for debate, protecting dissident voices and encouraging different
      opinions to be heard.

      Political freedom is not only the freedom to examine the Thaksin
      regime, but it is also the citizens' freedom to scrutinise state
      power at all levels, regardless of any political circumstances.

      On the occasion of nine years since the declaration of the 1997
      Constitution, this October 11, 2006 the CPMR kindly invites you, the
      public, community network members, colleagues and press to join
      activities to commemorate the 1997 Constitution on Wednesday October
      11, 2006, holding lights to ask for rights, freedom and democracy.

      9.00am Stand and mourn the Constitution for 90 minutes (from 9 years
      to 0) at the Democracy Monument, Ratchadamnoen Road

      1.00pm Press conference and forum calling for the return of articles
      39, 40, and 41 under the 1997 constitution by the CPMR at Royal
      Rattanakosin Hotel, Ratchadamnoen Road

      7.00pm Join in holding lights for civil liberties at the Democracy
      Monument

      -- Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR), 6 October 2006

      For any further information, please contact CPMR: +66-2-691 0574
      [E-mail: freemediapeople@...]

      Free _expression is essential for democratic society.
      We want a climate of freedom from fear and favor!


      Thank you.

      Urgent Appeals Programme
      Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@...)
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