Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk, a 2016 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards finalist, has been charged with two counts of sedition for posts made on Facebook. One charge stems from posts in which he criticised a military-drafted constitution — later enacted after a national referendum — and the repeated delays for new elections. The second charge stems from posts that Rojanaphruk wrote addressing the criminal negligence trial of the country’s former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who was ousted after a military-led coup; the handling of recent floods by the current prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha; and a soldier who threatened to confiscate the equipment of a local TV reporter.
“The ongoing judicial harassment of Pravit for performing his professional duties must end. The Thai junta has continuously stifled press freedom and targeted critical voices in the country. We call on the Thai authorities to end its campaign of suppression and drop all charges against Pravit,” Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said.
Rojanaphruk, a reporter for Bangkok-based news site Khaosod English, must report to police on 18 August. He posted on Twitter that he faces a maximum 14 years in prison if found guilty in both sedition cases.
The Thai junta has targeted Rojanaphruk since seizing power from the country’s democratically elected government in May 2014.