As Travelfish regulars will be aware there was a coup in Thailand in late May and since then there has been a steady and relentless wind back on freedom of speech, freedom to gather in public, and, well, freedom in general. Earlier today, in the junta's infinite wisdom, they've decided to extend their grasp to the internet.
As of today, according to this story on the excellent Prachatai website, "Thai police warned Thai Internet users on Monday that "liking" or expressing approval of anti-military junta messages is a crime."
As the "expressing approval" part could be easily interpreted as saying stuff yourself, this post is to serve as a headsup to all Travelfish members that they should be very careful about what they say regarding the junta -- both on Travelfish.org and elsewhere.
As we travel to Thailand regularly ourselves and have writers in-country, the above also covers what we say. At times, you will need to read between the lines. Where we are self censoring, we will link to this post.
As for moderation, given that, as far as the junta is concerned, we could be held liable for comments posted on this website, we'll use the same policies as we use with regard to the (equally ridiculous) lese-majeste laws in Thailand. You post material that breaks these rules, it will be deleted. You repeatedly do it, you will be banned. Sorry.
We apologise for these new rules and we very much hope that they are temporary, but we ask for your understanding.
For those not up to date with what has been going down in Thailand, here is an abridged timeline:
22 May 2014: Thai military launches a coup against the caretaker Thai government, imposes a curfew nationwide and begins rounding up politicians and activists
23 May 2014: Junta (officially the National Council for Peace and Order or NCPO) orders ISPs to censor information they regard to be provocative or undesirable
24 May 2014: The junta dissolves the senate
25 May 2014: Very small-scale protests take place in a number of locations in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country. Activists detained.
26 May 2014: King Bhumibol Adulyadej appoints junta head General Prayuth to run the country
28 May 2014: Facebook is blocked at the request of the junta by ISPs for an hour or so
30 May 2014: The junta declares that elections will not be held for at least 15 months
31 May 2014: Australia puts junta on a blacklist
1 June 2014: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel calls for free and fair elections
8 June 2014: Government officials are asked to report any colleague who may be considered "a threat to national security"
8 June 2014: Two people arrested to undergo a process to "have their attitude adjusted" because "the chip was implanted too deep in their brain".
10 June 2014: Criticism of the junta banned in schools
10 June 2014: Expressing approval of anti-military junta messages is a crime
So the above is all happening in 2014 -- not 1984 -- I'd link to a quote but, well, that would be breaking the law.
Here's to hoping that both Travelfish and Thailand able to get back to normal sooner than later.