Many Thais are chafing under strict new regulations governing discussion ahead of an Aug. 7 referendum on a military-backed constitution.
Under the regulations, Thais must express their opinions with “polite words … without distorting the facts”.
“Rude, aggressive, or intimidating” interviews with the media are banned. So is organizing a panel discussion “with intent to incite political unrest”.
Also forbidden are “T-shirts, pins and ribbons” that encourage others to campaign.
Violators can be jailed for up to 10 years. Dissenters in military-run Thailand often receive lengthy prison sentences under draconian laws on computer crime and royal defamation.
Groups of all political stripes have denounced the draft constitution as undemocratic, with one major political party urging supporters to vote “no”.
“To express opinions using reason. Is that so hard to understand?” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha snapped at a reporter who asked about the new rules on Tuesday.