Newton Mobility Grants
British Academy &
Office of Higher Education
Centre for Contemporary Social and
Cultural Studies, Faculty of Sociology
and Anthropology, Thammasat University
Media Ethnography Group,
Department of Media and Communications,
Goldsmiths, University of London
Silencing Dissent? Social Media, Citizens and the State in Thailand and Southeast Asia
A roundtable discussion on social media, citizens and the state in Thailand and Southeast Asia with journalists, academics, human rights and privacy advocates.
In the three years that have followed the military coup in May 2014 Thai users of popular social media platforms have been harassed, detained, prosecuted and imprisoned by the authorities for posting and sharing content online. A recent announcement by the ruling military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order, went a step further and moved to criminalise Thai citizens who merely ‘follow’ prominent overseas and exiled critics of the monarchy on social media. Using a range of sweeping laws and orders, in conjunction with the ever-growing powers of a surveillance apparatus with minimal legal checks and balances, the military junta have the ambition to purge social media platforms as spaces for the exchange of alternative opinions on questions of national significance.
This roundtable discussion brings together human rights, privacy and freedom of expression campaigners with journalists and academics to assess the impact of the post-coup strategy of targeting dissent and opposition online. What effect does the high-profile intimidation, detention and prosecution of citizens for Facebook posts, shares and follows have on the use of these platforms and tools? How do citizens and journalists negotiate the risks and evolve tactics for making critical positions visible and audible? How does the Thai experience of a diminishing space for legitimate online dissent compare with other national contexts across Southeast Asia that have followed different political trajectories in recent years?
This discussion is part of a series of events organised by the Internet Futures and Human Rights research stream and is supported by additional funding from the Newton Mobility Grant scheme 2016.
- Eva Blum-Dumontet | Privacy International
- Katherine Gerson | Amnesty International
- Yukti Mukdawijitra | Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat University | Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights
- Giang Nguyen | BBC World Service
- Arthit Suriyawongkul | Foundation for Internet and Civic Culture
- Orapin Yingyongpathana | Southeast Asia Press Alliance
- Richard MacDonald | Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London