Thai media rejects new Computer Bill

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BANGKOK, Oct 25 – Five Bangkok-based media organisations have protested against the draft amendment to the 2007 Computer Crime Act which is to be proposed to the Cabinet by the Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICT).

 

In a joint statement released yesterday, the media groups said the bill would restrict freedom of expression and violate the people’s rights and freedom as given by the Constitution.

The ICT said the bill, which seeks to amend the 2007 Computer Crime Act, has gone through public referendum.

The bill’s opponents said the revised legislation would enable the authorities to easily block websites without having to be scrutinised by the ICT minister.

It breaches the people’s rights to information, lacks standards of training for responsible officials and grants excessive power to the authorities, said the joint network. They said that the bill could create fears among the public, that people would be reluctant to express opinions using online media.

The five opposing organisations included the Thai Journalists Association, Thai Broadcasting Journalists Association, Online News Providers Association and Information Technology Reporters and the Academic Specialists on Computer Law Group.

They said the amended bill was against the Internet communication infrastructure and aims to find fault on website operators, Internet and mobile phone service providers, and Internet users.

They called on the government to review the bill and conduct a larger-scale referendum while media representatives, Internet service providers, website operators and stakeholders must be invited to join in deliberating the bill.