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Friday, September 24, 2010

News update from Digital Democracy

Thai journalist and anti-censorship activist Is detained

September 24, 2010: New York, NY — Chiranuch Premchaiporn, known as Jiew, a courageous advocate, founder and manager of a leading independent news website in thailand was detained in the bangkok airport after returning from the Google Internet at liberty conference in Budapest, Hungary today.

Already indicted under 10 charges of the new computer crime act, as well as the serious les majeste, she was set to go on trial in February. She was previously detained for content that was posted on a website that she runs for an independent news organization prachathai. Under local laws, those who run the site are responsible for the content on it, including comments. When someone posted in the comments mateerial that the authorities deemed unacceptable, she quickly removed them, but not quick enough for the authorities who detained her.

This recent arrest comes after the Google Internet at Liberty Conference, where she had been discussing the implications that Thai censorship has had for journalists, activists, and businesses there. In recent years, Thailand has censored sites from YouTube to blocking Google Apps Engine. The warrant 311/2552 on September 8 2552 offense under bill com bcuz April 27, 2552 at Nai muang, khon kaen comes from authorities of khon kaen. She is now in khon kean province, about 400 kilometers northeast of Bangkok. She was detained about 230pm local Thai time.

“I’m not sure of what the charges actually are at the moment and I’m afraid I won’t be able to request bail by the end of today,” Jiew told the associated press. Though more recent information stipulates that she is being held under 200,000 baht bail, about $6500 usd. There is a growing online campaign to free her, on Twitter using #freejiew and #ial2010, and on the blogosphere.

“It’s unacceptable that she’s currently being detained for something that she didn’t say, but actually for illegal remarks that she tried to remove from her site. This sends a dangerous message to the people of Thailand and has implications for the rest of the region,” says Mark Belinsky, co-director of digital democracy who was recently in Hungary with Jiew.

People can donate to Jiew’ bail fund by contributing to Digital Democracy (via Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy) and labeling the donation “freejiew”

Helpful links:

Digital democracy films interview with Jiew and Prachathai office –

Prachathai English

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