Information hero

Chiranuch Premchaiporn

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, better known by the pen name Jiew, is the editor of the online newspaper Prachatai. She was briefly arrested and prosecuted in 2010 for lèse majesté. Under the terms of the draconian Computer Crimes Act, she could face up to 50 years in prison. The evidence was scant: she was accused of failing to remove anti-monarchist comments from the site quickly enough in 2008. She was subjected to judicial harassment for more than three years, during which time she did all she could to counter censorship of her site, before being given a suspended sentence of eight months’ imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 baht ($635) in 2012. Determined to assert her rights and win her case, she appealed against the court’s decision. But the legal system refused to budge. Premchaiporn’s battle for freedom of the press is indicative of the harshness of Thai justice system and the punitive nature of some of its laws which, instead of protecting the monarchy, are used as political weapons against critical and independent voices.