In Thailand, protestors are not ready to give up their fight for democracy. Journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk, the latest in our Global Voices of Freedom series, explains what’s at stake.This content was published on November 27, 2021 - 09:00
- Deutsch Thailändischer Demokratie-Verfechter auf Gratwanderung
- Español Caminar en la cuerda floja como defensor de la democracia en Tailandia
- Português Andando na corda bamba como defensor da democracia na Tailândia
- 中文 如履薄冰的泰国民主拥护者
- عربي السير على حبل مشدود كمدافع عن الديمقراطية في تايلاند
- Français Un militant de la démocratie sur la corde raide en Thaïlande
- Pусский Защита демократии в Таиланде: журналист у края пропасти
- 日本語 「ジャーナリストとして発言しない選択肢はない」
- Italiano Sul filo del rasoio come difensore della democrazia in Thailandia
An impressive black-and-white picture, by Italian photographer Jan Daga, shows an August 2020 protest: lines of young students walk hand-in-hand down a Bangkok street followed by cohorts of heavily armed police. At the front of the scene, reporting live from the battleground of Thai democracy, stands a sole journalist with a smartphone – Pravit Rojanaphruk.
The 51-year-old journalist works as a senior staff writer for Khaosod English (“fresh news”). Formerly, he wrote a regular column for the Nation, an English-language newspaper in the country, but was pressured to resign due to his political opinions following the 2014 coup d’état. Since then he has gained a reputation as one of the most prominent champions of democracy and freedom of expression in South Asia – and has consequently been called an “enemy of the people” and arrested several times.
In a conversation as part of SWI swissinfo.ch’s Global Voices of Freedom series, Rojanaphruk mentions repeatedly a key stumbling block for democracy in his country – the so called “lèse majesté” law, which bans all criticism of the monarchy.
Supporters of a modern democracy in Thailand indeed find themselves walking something of a tightrope. Thousands of mainly young protesters have been arrested and imprisoned since Jan Daga snapped his iconic picture last summer. For his part, Pravit Rojanaphruk is still marching at the forefront of this important movement for freedom of expression and people power: as a professional reporter and an ardent supporter of democracy.