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RSF urges Thai authorities to drop charges against website reporter

12 July 2016

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the Thai authorities to withdraw all charges against Taweesak Kerdpoka, a reporter for the independent news website Prachatai, who was arrested on 10 July while covering the activities of members of the opposition New Democracy Movement (NDM) and was released on bail on 11 July.

Taweesak and the three NDM activists he was accompanying were arrested in the central district of Ban Pong and were questioned about NDM-published booklets found in their vehicle that criticize the Thai junta’s proposed constitution. The booklets and “Vote No” stickers were to have been distributed ahead of the referendum on the proposed constitution that will be held on 7 August.

Taweesak and the three activists are charged with violating Article 61(2) of the Referendum Act, which prohibits publishing or broadcasting “false,” “vulgar,” “inciteful” or “intimidating” information about the constitutional referendum.

If convicted, they face a possible 10-year jail sentence, a fine of up to 200,000 baht, and suspension of their electoral rights for five years.

Adapted from Reporters Without Borders

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