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Human rights body asks PM to rescind a part of emergency order


The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday resolved to ask the prime minister to rescind a part of a Covid-19 emergency order that is seen as violating the freedom of expression.

Sant Phaileeklee, a member of the commission, held a press conference at the NHRC Office to announce the resolution of the commission, which required Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to rescind the 11th point of the 27th Covid-19 emergency situation order within 60 days.

Last year, Prayut had invoked Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations BE 2548 (2005) to issue the 27th Covid-19 emergency order dated July 10 2021.

In August 2021, six media professional organisations jointly submitted a petition to the NHRC to consider whether the 11th point of the 27th order restricted the freedom of press. The six organisations are: National Press Council of Thailand, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, Thai Journalists Association, News Broadcasting Council of Thailand, National Union of Journalists Thailand, and Society for Online News Providers.

The media organisations said the order restricted the right to information and freedom of expression for the people and the media.

Human rights body asks PM to rescind a part of emergency order Sant said the NHRC considered and found that the 11th point of the 27th order, which banned media reports that could cause panic among the people related to the Covid-19 pandemic, did restrict the right to free information and freedom of expression.

Sant said the NHRC saw the point has too wide a scope and it is ambiguous and could be interpreted in many ways. Sant said the law enforcers might interpret the publicity of true reports or expression of innocent opinions as an action that could cause panic among the public.

Human rights body asks PM to rescind a part of emergency order As a result, the commission resolved that the prime minister in his capacity as the chairman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration must revoke the 11th point of the 27th order.

Wasant said the NHRC will inform the CCSA to rescind the 11th point of the 27th Covid emergency order within 60 days.

Published : April 07, 2022

By : THE NATION