Thailand is planning on starting an overseas campaign to educate foreigners on the seriousness of Thai Laws protecting the Monarchy. With Harry Nicolaides recently being jailed for 3 years due to one sentence about the Thai Prince in an obscure book written in 2005 and many more cases cropping up, the Thai government has concluded that foreigners misunderstand Thailand’s lese majeste laws.
The plan is to disseminate information to Thai embassies world wide in hopes that they can educate would be travelers to Thailand before there is a problem. Unfortunately the Thai government doesn’t understand the fact that travelers to Thailand aren’t the problem…the Thai government is the problem.
Upholding archaic laws that would have someone jailed for speaking against or insulting the royal family when the King himself has said the law isn’t needed is ridiculous to say the least, and unconscionable at best.
Let’s forget the fact that over 4000 websites are being blocked in Thailand as well as their owners being investigated, and while were at it let’s forget that certain government officials want the maximum penalty for committing a lese majeste crime to be lengthened from 15 to 25 years in prison.
What about the innocent tourist who has always wanted to visit the kingdom and doesn’t know that it’s mandatory to stand for the national anthem before a movie? What about the tourist that knows nothing about Thailand and drops a thousand baht note on the ground and stops it with his/her foot? With the Thai government looking for every and any infraction of this law will these people be the next to be detained for months in a Thai jail before being found guilty and sentenced to years in the same Thai jail?
The Thai government has said that protecting the Royal family is the governments first priority, with all the other problems Thailand faces coming into the twenty first century I would say their priorities are screwed up.
While they may believe they will be educating foreign travelers to the kingdom what they will really be doing is driving much needed tourists away from Thailand at a time they can ill afford to do so.