Thailand Prachatai website editor Premchaiporn on trial

Chiranuch Premchaiporn pictured in November 2010 Chiranuch Premchaiporn denies all charges but if found guilty she faces up to 20 years in jail

Related Stories

Thailand's first trial of a website manager has opened in Bangkok, in a case being seen as a test of democracy.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who manages the popular Prachatai site, is accused of allowing material onto her website which threatens national security.

Prachatai was one of many sites blocked during last year's mass anti-government "red-shirt" demonstrations.

Media freedom advocates say Thailand's cyber laws allow officials to censor any politically challenging content.

Ms Premchaiporn has been testing the limits of what is possible in Thailand's fractured political scene for years.

Her website, Prachatai, offers sharp analysis and news in Thai and English. It covers stories often not tackled by the country's conservative mainstream media.

The five criminal charges she currently faces come under the country's 2007 Computer Crime Act.

They refer to content posted by readers of the site on the Prachatai message board, which discussed the place of the royal family in Thailand, and the military coup of 2006.

Out on bail for the moment, Ms Premchaiporn denies all charges. If found guilty she faces up to 20 years in jail.

Ms Premchaiporn has been accused of insulting the country's monarchy several times, a particularly serious offence here. One such case against her is still outstanding.

Media freedom advocates are critical of the computer law.

"It has become a political tool of the state to close down websites and arrest people," said Supinya Klangnarong, a media reform activist.

"The Thai state has been intensely using the act as political punishment, instead of curbing actual computer-related crimes," she said.

The law has contributed to Thailand dropping significantly in international press freedom rankings.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Asia-Pacific stories

RSS

Features

  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?


  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900-year-story behind the creation of a UK parliament


  • Beer and alcoholAbstinence wars

    The struggle to claim the month of October


  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest


  • Tesco signBest before?

    Has Tesco passed its sell-by date, asks Richard Anderson


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.