Anti-censorship webmaster arrested in Thailand

Photo of Jiew from the website of Digital Democracy

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the webmaster of the independent online journal Prachatai in Thailand, was arrested at Bangkok airport today on charges of insulting the monarchy. Chiranuch, more popularly known as jiew, was arrested after attending the Google Internet at liberty conference in Budapest, Hungary

Chiranuch Premchaiporn was detained by immigration police at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 2.30 pm today upon arrival from a trip to the Internet at Liberty 2010 Conference in Hungary. The police showed an arrest warrant issued by Khon Kaen Provincial Court, and she will probably be sent to the province today. Currently, the charges are not clear.

It seems she is also accused of violating the Computer Crime Act

redbebear RT @Thai_Talk: Re arrest of Prachatai's Chiranuch (@jiew), warrant issued 8 Nov 2009 citing Computer Crime Act, another lese majeste case! #Thailand

Immediately after her arrest, friends and supporters have used the hashtag #freejiew to demand her freedom. A blog was also set-up to provide updates about her arrest. Here are some latest news on twitter

bact Dear all, @jiew is alright. Immigration police officers are nice. We will arrive Khon Kaen city police station around midnight
veen_NT Chiranuch (@jiew) was sent to Khon Kaen to hear her the charge directly after being detained at Suvarnabhumi airport.
bact: @Incognito_me now with @jiew on car. To khon kaen town police station. Not police official car, but a private car of police officer

A bail is being required

MichaelBKK: RT @jfxberns: RT @s_narut: “@supinya: @jiew needs 200,000 Baht [6,666 USD] to be on bail. Her friends are helping now. #IAL2010 #netfreedom” #freejiew

Friends of jiew have given online instructions on how to donate for the bail fund.

Here are some twitter comments about jiew’s arrest

thaitvnews first they block 3G now they jail internet activist #freejiew
d3woysterburg3r: RT @jfxberns: Go ahead, Thailand, arrest the smart & honest people like @jiew from @pratchatai and promote the crooks.
jfxberns: @supinya I think the fact that @jiew spoke about free speech is the main reason for the arrest.
markmackinnon: Thailand's democratic facade falls away when journalists like Chiranuch Premchaiporn are prosecuted for, sigh, lèse majesté…
dvanpelt…and Thailand sinks even further down the ranks of civilized nations… #freejiew
emjacobi RT @jfxberns: Free Internet speech is dead in Thailand. Anyone can post a comment on any website & get the owner/manager arrested. #freejiew

#freejiew is now trending in Thailand.

#jiew is also a topic for global conversation.

Jiew was arrested around 2:30pm but only one mainstream newspaper in Thailand has reported the issue (it's now midnight).

s_narut Interestingly, The Nation is the only Thai mainstream media reporting about @jiew case right now. #freejiew

Sokapok comments on a post uploaded at New Mandala

How have things got so wrong that some of us believe that trying to shut people up and ignore them instead of listening to them and incorporating their concerns is the foundation for political stability? Isn’t it stark ravingly obvious that the opposite is the case? Why can’t these people see that? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills

jonny comments too

I’m going to go out on a limb here – and anyone who doubts my objectivity can refer me to the censors for speaking my mind – and reiterate my previously stated opinion that, from what (limited) understanding I have of the Prachatai case, arresting its director simply has to be a misapplication of lese majeste of the exact kind I fear is not only unreasonable, but seemingly unjust (at least on the face of it), and surely, if nothing else, simply an example of the kind that will be tragically and gleefully seized upon by those who have anything but Thailand’s best interests at heart.

A message for jiew

jjbrowny Sleep tight, take some rest. Tomorrow, arguably, the better day will come :-) #freejiew

In the past few years, numerous arrests have been made in Thailand in relation to the Lese Majeste. Thailand has also used the law to censor thousands of websites.


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