Yet another Thai man has sued Chotisak Onsoong for not standing during the Royal Anthem in a cinema, as well as two websites for allowing discussion about this in their forums.Frank Andersen, a longtime foreign resident of Thailand who was once himself charged under the lese mageste law, writes:*
On April 28, Sunimit Jirasuk, 36, resident of Khon Kaen province in Northeastern Thailand, filed charges under Article 116 (2) of the Thai Criminal Code with Khon Kaen police against Chotisak, for offending the monarchy and inciting unrest, and Fah Diew Kan (www.sameskybooks.org) and Prachatai websites for publishing threads of discussions by readers who supported Chotisak’s act.
The law, expressed in Article 112 of the Criminal Code, states, "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years."Andersen provides more background to the case of the seated theater patron.
However, whether you are ever convicted and punished or not is a question of who you are, who you happened to offend and who is protecting your interests. . . . Politicians, power brokers and colluding police all benefit from the application — or merely the threat to apply — the lese majeste law.
In regards to this case, psychologists have found that one effective means by which to undermine a person's motivation to partake in a intrinsically motivated (heartfelt) action -- such as gift giving -- is to make it obligatory. If standing up for the king's anthem at a movie is perceived as compulsory, the very meaning of the act changes. The lawsuit is not merely an affront to Chotisak Onsoong and to freedom. Because it may influence Thai person's motivation to participate in this ritual, fundamentally the lawsuit risks corrupting an expression of love.
* Double hat-tip here to FACT (Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand)