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Political writer Giles Ungpakorn goes into exile over lese majeste charges

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 9 February 2009 CPJ press release:

THAILAND: Writer goes into exile over lese majeste
"That political writers now find it necessary to flee the country due to fears about their personal security is testament to the rapid deterioration in Thailand's media environment," Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior representative for Southeast Asia said. "We call on the government to drop the charges against Giles Ungpakorn and all other writers facing harassment or worse under these outdated and extreme laws."

Australian writer Harry Nicolaides was sentenced to three years in prison on lese majeste charges on January 19. BBC correspondent Jonathan Head currently faces three different charges of lese majeste for articles and public comments he made at Bangkok's Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Thailand's Ministry of Information Communication and Technology closed down more than 2,300 Web sites last month for posting materials deemed offensive to the monarchy. The Justice Ministry has said it plans to seek court orders to shut down an additional 3,000 to 4,000 Web sites for the same reason.

On January 27, CPJ sent a letter to Prime Minister Abhisit expressing its concerns about Thailand's fast deteriorating media climate ( http://cpj.org/2009/01/cpj-worried-about-deteriorating-thai-media-climate.php ).

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org

Updates the Ungpakorn case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99881

For further information on the Nicolaides case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99972

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