The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand regrets to announce that the planned discussion on Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or Lèse-Majesté Law, scheduled for 17 June 2015, has been cancelled, after a verbal order to do so was given by the NCPO, via the police.
The FCCT has now been told that if the event goes ahead, the military will come and seal off access to the Maneeya Centre, where the club is located. This is an unacceptable imposition on the many other tenants in the building, and it is with great regret that we have decided to cancel.
We received a letter last week from the police asking for our cooperation in cancelling the event, stating that the 112 event would sow disunity in Thai society, and encourage people to break the law and stir up unrest. We told them these fears were groundless, and declined their request.
The police informed us there were no regulations prohibiting us from proceeding. So we asked for a written order from the NCPO before we could justify cancelling the event. The NCPO has now told us they will not issue such a letter because they fear it would be used in the media to damage their image.
The FCCT has held many discussions on Article 112 in the past, and prides itself on being a forum for free debate, a role we have continued to play since last year's military coup. Since then we have held a wide variety of events, some of which have given the military government full opportunity to argue in support of its plans for the country.
The use of Article 112 has long been controversial, and has increased markedly since the coup. We believe the law is a legitimate subject for discussion, not only for Thais, but also for foreigners who live or invest in Thailand. Our discussion would, we believe, have been constructive.
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