Attacks on the Press
Thailand's clampdown on press and Internet freedoms continued in 2013 as large anti-government street demonstrations undermined political stability. Broadcast journalists were threatened with arrest by authorities for live streaming protest speeches. At least two local and one foreign reporter were assaulted by protesters over perceived pro-government bias in their coverage. Authorities continued to crack down on coverage deemed critical of the royal family by sentencing newsmagazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to 11 years in prison and banning a political documentary on the grounds that its title could be construed as critical of the monarchy. Amid an outcry, the Ministry of Culture later lifted the censorship order, saying it had made a "technical mistake." Political cartoonist Somchai Katanyutanan faced defamation charges over comments he posted on Facebook about a speech Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made in Mongolia. The offices of his newspaper, Thai Rath, were later attacked by unknown assailants. Thai Public Broadcasting Service political editor Sermsuk Kasitpradit was investigated in connection with comments he made on Facebook speculating on a possible military coup. Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap then warned social media users that clicking "like" or sharing online comments deemed a threat to national security could be construed as criminal acts punishable by imprisonment.