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British Ambassador Mark Kent on Phuket last year

British Navy Visit Ignores Thai Military's Attack on Media Freedom, Says Editor

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
PHUKET: With HMS Daring now visiting Thailand, the Editor of Phuketwan has asked the British Navy to withdraw its support for Thailand's Navy until onerous charges that attack media freedom are withdrawn.

The Royal Thai Navy should be making war on genocide in Burma, not journalists, he says.

January 15
email to
British Ambassador Mark Kent

Mr Ambassador,

Could I draw your attention please to the article linked below and the Open Letter to the Chiefs of Four Allied Navies - Britain, the US, Australia and New Zealand?

As you will see, the letter calls on the British Navy to cease making visits to Thailand and end its support in Thailand until such time as the Royal Thai Navy withdraws an intimidating court action - employing both criminal defamation and the Computer Crimes Act - against me and another journalist.

The concept of the military suing the media should be anathema to all right-thinking naval officers, especially as this case is so closely linked to the continuing genocide of the Rohingya people in Burma.

As Thai Navy officers may need to be reminded, the allied forces of Britain and other nations tried to obliterate genocide in World War II. It is my belief that all good soldiers and sailors should continue to take a stand against genocide, not journalists.

I understand the visit of HMS Daring may have been organised too far in advance for this Open Letter to have achieved the impact it deserves.

I now humbly request that the Open Letter's contents are passed on at your earliest convenience to the Royal Navy's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, and senior officers now visiting Thailand, and that British visits cease until these charges are withdrawn.

Yours sincerely,
Alan Morison
editor
Phuketwan.com


Open Letter to the Chiefs of Four Allied Navies


January 4, 2014

The Chief of the Australian Navy -
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO
The Secretary of the Navy, United States -
Ray Mabus
The Chief of Defence Staff, Great Britain -
General Sir Nick Houghton
Chief of Navy, NZ Defence Force -
Rear Admiral Jack Steer

Gentlemen,

As four women who support peace, not war, we are pleading for your help. Our brother Alan Morison, who has been working as a journalist in Thailand, is being sued for criminal defamation by a captain on behalf of the Royal Thai Navy.

The captain is also using the Computer Crimes Act, an outrageous law designed to sink free speech and all it means. We ask your help because this is all about democracy. We believe the reputable navies of the world all support free speech and a free media in a free world.

We are peace loving sisters but our father John Morison went to World War II to fight for democracy in the Pacific and both our grandfathers fought in World War I at Gallipoli. One grandfather was wounded and shipped home, the other went on to the Western Front where he was gassed.

Our brother Alan was ready to fight in Vietnam. As a family, we've done our bit for the free world and democracy. Now Alan, it appears, is being condemned by the Royal Thai Navy for his award-winning work writing about the Rohingya, a stateless people who are being subjected to genocide in Burma and forced to flee to the sea.

We are certain we don't have to tell you gentlemen about genocide, or why WWII was fought. Thailand, you will recall, is where thousands of Allies died during that same war on the Burma railway, the Death railway.

We would hate to think they died in vain and that the lessons of democracy have not been learned in Thailand, of all places. But that appears to be the case.

It's understood in all democracies that no military should be beyond criticism. No military should be a law unto itself.

In defence of our brother, the United Nations human rights representative, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance have all called on the Royal Thai Navy to withdraw its criminal defamation action.

Because you four gentlemen understand so well the parallel roles of the military and the media in a democracy, we ask all of you to please suggest that the Royal Thai Navy calls off this inappropriate court action. If the action is not brought to an end, we suggest you suspend all military cooperation with Thailand until such time as this action against free speech and democracy is halted.

Yours respectfully in peace,

Jenny Braddy,
Cathy Schmierer
Jill Morison
Lisa Kovaleff

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Ed, do you really think the British Navy give two hoots about Thalland 's attack on free speech and democracy.
First I would have to argue whether Thailand every actually achieved a democracy and whether free speech was ever truly available.
Yes, you can beat around the bush and suggest what may be going on, who is responsible, what may have occurred or more likely did occur but without open government, we can only assume.
Ever considered the action of the Thai navy is just the easiest way to keep you quiet? Far easier than having to address the issues!
Do you really think that such action taken by a subordinate didn't have senior approval. I doubt it very much.
Now the issue of democracy is just a facade. A democracy can only be achieved where the people are willing to obey and take ownership of it.
A country so divided and where the defeated party will never accept the results is not democratic.
The democrats will never rule Thailand by popular election because they are too focused on the removal of Thaksin.
It must really get under their skin that someone who has not stepped foot in the country for 5 years, is apparently corrupt to the core and is in the democrats opinion the cause of the whole of Thailands problems, is still more popular and would win an election against any opposition at any present time.

The problems of Thailand can best be summarised by one of the PDRC speakers today

"Some degree(of corruption) people tolerate", Mr Seri shouted. " but Thaksin went overboard. We will not tolerate his actions again.''

Maybe we need details of the PDRC's acceptable corruption schedule so we know what level is acceptable and what level is not

Posted by Manowar on January 15, 2014 20:48

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This really is getting quite dull. I am sure your readers do not wish this situation on you, but giving yourselves an award and these continual articles on yourself are sending us all to sleep zzzzz

Posted by Boring on January 15, 2014 21:20

Editor Comment:

Imagine how boring life will be when there is no Phuketwan and the journalists who provide you with your independent news are in jail. That's what could happen while you snore.

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@Boring, you might find it "dull", so why read it, this is a choice you made, no one forces you to read it. Whether "dull" or not, the pressure needs to be kept up, silence will achieve NOTHING. England gave the world democracy, I would have thought it appropriate to ask the Royal Navy to "withdraw" support. All "real" democratic governments should be questioning the actions not only of the Royal Thai navy, but also the Thai government for not intervening. Sadly Manowar could be right in stating whether "democracy" was/is actually achieve, in Thailand, I seem to remember one polly actually saying Thai "democracy" is not the same as that of other nations, but he did not elaborate.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 16, 2014 12:40

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England gave the world democracy?

Don't think so. Believe it was the Greeks.

Posted by sir burr on January 16, 2014 15:05

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Sir Burr, you r absolutely right... a big mistake by me.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 16, 2014 15:25

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While it may be true ancient Greeks founded democratic principles, they were only for the elite, certainly not slaves. We have France with her violent revolution to thank for initial applications of democracy for all- and the USA deserves credit for further spreading this doctrine throughout the world- certainly not colonial-minded Britain that, in fact, instigated a war to stop a fledgling democratic republic.

Posted by The Night Mare on January 17, 2014 10:13

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Ye but nobody could understand Greek.

Posted by hopeful on January 17, 2014 10:59

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And without the USA, British democracy would disappeared and the Kaiser's current address would be C/o Buckingham Palace, London, Far West Germany

Posted by Manowar on January 17, 2014 14:27

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@Laurie, you have missed the point - re posting the same article over and over again is what makes this dull. Awarding yourself Phuket Business of the Year (or whatever the award was) is ridiculous. Most readers read PhuketWan for its fantastic news coverage of Phuket, not for the repeated article which I am sure the Thai Navy isnt reading anyway....

Posted by Boring on January 17, 2014 14:37

Editor Comment:

If you don't think media freedom is important, there are plenty of other ''news'' sources that skip it entirely, Boring. Enjoy your beach bars and snake sightings. If the Navy didn't read us, we wouldn't have been sued.

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Alan, don't you mean... If the navy could read (English), we would not be being sued...

Posted by Manowar on January 17, 2014 15:36

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When in jail, you won't be redundant. We will smuggle you in an iPad so you can post selfies of you and your new roomy... Suthep

Posted by Manowar on January 17, 2014 15:41

Editor Comment:

Will an iPad fit in a dead rat, thrown over the wall? I'll look out for the first dead cat.

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No, but may fit in a live one which should not look out of place amongst all the other rodents. Just in case, we will make it a iPad mini !!

Posted by Manowar on January 17, 2014 16:16


Sunday December 17, 2017
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